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Full text of "Wild flowers of Western Canada"

WILD FIDWERS 

nF 

CANADA 



j 



\ 




By 



WILLIAM COPELAND McCALLA 



With Sixty Plates from Original Photographs 
by the Author 




TORONTO 

THE MUSSON BOOK COMPANY 
LIMITED 



596017 



Copyright, Canada, 1920 
by 

W. C. McCALLA 



TO 

MARGARET 



NATURE 

11 The bubbling brook doth leap when I come by, 
Because my feet find measure with its call; 
The birds know when the friend they love is nigh, 
For I am known to them, both great and small. 
The flower that on the lonely hillside grows 
Expects me there when spring its bloom has given; 
And many a tree and bush my wanderings knows, 
And e'en the clouds and silent stars of heaven;" 

Jones Very. 






PREFACE 

The plants pictured and described in thia little book are for the most 
part quite common in Western Canada. With a territory so vast and varied 
in character as is ours, the reader will not expect to find them all in his own 
neighborhood, but he will find many of them, also others quite as beautiful 
and interesting. He may regret that some favorite flower is not included, 
but he may be sure that his regret is shared by the author who found it difficult 
to make the final selection. No two persons would have made an identical 
choice, still, it is believed that representative plants from all parts of the 
West except the extreme North and the Pacific slope have been included. 

In a general way the plants are arranged according to their time of bloom, 
beginning with the early flowers of Spring. But owing to the extent of our 
counti y, to local conditions of soil and exposure, and to variations in weather 
from year to year, it is impossible to be exact as to either order or dates. 
Still, for a work of this kind, it was felt to be the best arrangement. 

In writing of western wild flowers one meets the difficulty that many of 
them have as yet no generally recognized common name. Such names as 
far as possible have been hunted out and used. In some cases they lack 
definiteness, as where a common generic name has come into use and is applied 
loosely to any one or to all of the several species. To accurately identify 
the flower the botanical name is also given. As the photographs together 
with the notes on size, color, and habitat are believed to be quite sufficient 
to enable the reader to recognize any of the plants, it has not been thought 
necessary or desirable to give detailed technical descriptions. 

The landscape pictures are introduced to give variety of interest and to 
direct attention to the fascinating subject of plant societies. 

To know the name of a flower is, of course, but a preliminary to acquain- 
tance. It is hoped that the presentation of certain facts in the life history 
of these plants may lead readers to more attentively observe the plants 
about them to notice how they adapt themselves in structure and habit 
to their environment, how they bravely meet vicissitudes of fortune, how 
eagerly they take advantage of favorable opportunities, and how marvelously 
in form and service they and the insects are interrelated and mutually depend- 
ent. Refeience to these subjects has been much curtailed by limitation of 
space but this is not necessarily a disadvantage. Were an attempt made to 
give the whole life history of each plant it would be attended by two dangers: 
first, its length might discourage many casual readers; and second, the more 
interested might be tempted to study the written story rather than the living 
plant. Hence, the endeavor has been to make the brief text stimulative 
and suggestive. 

May we all find in the contemplation of the manifold beauties and wonders 
of Nature fresh joy, quickened sympathy, and enlarged outlook on life. 

W. C. McCALLA. 

Glenbrook Farm, 

Bremner, Alberta, 
May, 1920. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

Golden Pea 11 

Fairy Bells 13 

Wild Sarsaparilla 15 

Early Purple Violet 17 

Shooting Star 19 

Purple Milk Vetch 21 

The Forest Invading a Peat Bog 23 

Baked-Apple Berry . . . 25 

Arctic Raspberry 27 

Water Arum 29 

Silver Weed 31 

Round-leaved Orchis 33 

Blue Beard Tongue 35 

Bird's-eye or Mealy Primrose 37 

Marsh Ragwort 39 

Zones of Vegetation around a Pond 41 

Tall Lungwort 43 

Yellow Lady's Slipper 45 

Twin-flower 47 

Bunchberry 49 

Yellow Columbine 51 

Northern Bedstraw 53 

Seneca Snakeroot 55 

Red Lily 57 

-In a Western Woodland 59 

Pink Wintergreen 61 

One-flowered Wintergreen 63 

Purple Geranium 65 

Tall White Cinquefoil 67 

Cow Parsnip 69 

Prairie Pink 71 

Scarlet Gaura 73 

Purple Prairie Clover 75 

Northern Hedysarum 77 

. 

. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

A Flower-bordered Road 79 

Hedge Nettle 81 

Great-flowered Gaillardia 83 

Tall Meadow Rue 85 

Loco-weed 87 

Nodding Wild Onion 89 

Tall or Glaucous Zygadenus 91 

Oval-leaved Milkweed 93 

Rough Fleabane Daisy 95 

Wild Bergamot 97 

A Ferny Dell 99 

Great Willow-herb 101 

Grass of Parnassus : 103 

Spreading Dogbane 105 

Giant Hyssop 107 

Wild Morning Glory. 109 

Blazing Star r Ill 

Painted Cup 113 

A Western River Scene 115 

Giant Sunflower 117 

Broad-leaved Arrow-head 119 

Marsh Felwort 121 

Lesser Pasture Sage Brush 123 

White Prairie Aster 125 

Drummond's Dryas 127 

A Group of Airship Seeds 129 



WILD FLOWERS 
WESTERN (ANADA 



GOLDEN PEA; PRAIRIE BEAN 

Thermopsis rhombifolia (Nutt.) Richards 
PEA FAMILY 

The early flowers are especially welcome and are eagerly 
looked for. It is an event of the year to find the first anemone, 
the well-known " crocus" of the prairie. Following this pioneer 
come the sweet coltsfoot, a dwarf buttercup, a tiny, leafy-stemmed 
violet, and, showiest of all, this splendid Golden Pea. It perfumes 
and brightens many a hillside and bit of prairie, always showing 
a preference for sandy soil. 

When the stalk emerges from the ground it wears a gray coat 
of silky hairs. Its tip is bent over and sheltered by large stipules 
(those leaf-like appendages at the base of each leaf -stalk), as if 
the plant hid its face between huge ear tabs from the sudden 
exposure to wind and sunshine. As the stem grows, the three- 
parted leaves push out from this protection, but for a time the 
leaflets remain folded along their mid-ribs, only gradually opening 
out and assuming the horizontal position. The flower buds are 
soon revealed, and rapidly develop into large, bright yellow, pea- 
shaped blossoms, followed a few weeks later by sickle-shaped pods. 

It is interesting to observe the various and ingenious devices 
used by plants to ensure the safety of the tender young shoots 
and leaves during the great change from the snug cradle of the 
bud to the full exposure of maturity. The transition is usually 
made without injury. Many people believe that while man- 
made gardens are often caught by late frosts and storms, the wild 
plants have a sure instinct that leads them to defer growth until 
the weather is safe. But this is not wholly correct, "for only 
those who have studied nature but very little will maintain that 
she never errs."* The Golden Peas growing on a sunny slope 
near the house of the writer have been badly frozen three years 
out of six, while those near by, but on the north side of a coppice, 
have escaped all injury. These are no wiser than their brothers 
on the hillside, but the brush held the snow and frost and so de- 
layed their start. 

'Maeterlinck. 



10 




GOLDEN PEA; PRAIRIE BEAN 

11 



FAIRY BELLS 

Disporum trachycarpum 8. Wats. 
LILY FAMILY 

Here is no plant of the open prairie. The thin, soft tissue 
of it leaves and of its creamj^-white flowers could not stand 
exposure to high wind, beating rain, or strong sunshine, hence it 
is in deep woods, especially on the sheltered sides of ravines, 
that this graceful and dainty beauty of early Spring is to be 
found. How well it chooses its home is shown by the fact that 
this photograph of perfect specimens was taken in the morning, 
after a late snowstorm, followed by frost, had bedraggled or 
blighted the hardier plants up in the open. 

As the developing foliage of the trees shuts out more sunlight, 
the Disporum broadens out with the ample, horizontal leaves 
characteristic of woodland undergrowth. Still later in the 
season, each branch now widely divergent, bears one or two 
bright berries where once hung the delicate bells. These globose, 
three-lobed fruits are about one-half inch in diameter, and in 
process of ripening change from green to orange and then to 
dazzling scarlet. Their skin is minutely roughened, giving it 
th' richness of velvet. Within is a small quantity of juicy pulp 
and numerous ivory-white seeds. The berries, although not 
likely to be used for human food, seen harmless enough. These 
are ripe before the leaves assume their autumn tints, so, unless 
arrinl away promptly by the birds, they have first a rich green 
and later a bright yellow background. 



12 




FAIRY BELLS 
13 



WILD SARSAPARILLA 

Aralia nudicaulis L. 
GINSENG FAMILY 

The Wild Sarsaparilla can hardly be called a beautiful flower, 
yet the plant as a whole is attractive, and, for a time in early June, 
its abundance makes it the most conspicuous feature of many a 
woodland from Newfoundland to British Columbia. 

A long aromatic rootstock bears a very short stem, from a 
bud on which spring one leaf and one flower-stalk. Developing 
together the newly-expanded leaf overarches the newly-opened 
flowers. As will be seen by the picture, both are in threes. This 
is the usual number, although sometimes there are four main 
divisions to the leaf, and the umbels, or clusters of flowers, may 
vary from two to seven; if more than four, the extra umbels 
spring from one or more of the primary clusters, so giving a two- 
storied effect. 

The small, greenish-white flowers seem to be followed by either 
a full crop of fruit or none at all. In 1919 the bloom was copious, 
but little fruit was produced; such plants, however, as had any 
berries bore full clusters, there being no half-filled ones. The 
berries are purplish-black or finally jet-black, rather sweet when 
first put in the mouth, but quickly turning bitter like quinine. 
They ripen late in the season, about the time the leaf turns a 
clear yellow. 

The roots are supposed to have some medicinal value and there 
is a slight commercial demand for them. The official sarsaparilla, 
however, is from quite a different plant, the smilax of Central 
and South America. 



14 




WILD SARSAPARILLA 



EARLY PURPLE VIOLET 

Viola nephrophylla Greene 
VIOLET FAMILY 






Everyone knows and admires the violet, and with our 
admiration is combined a warmer feeling, for it is a lovable flower 
with a personal, almost human appeal. 

Out of the two hundred or more species that have been described 
by botanists, Canada has her full share (whether with blue, purple, 
white, or yellow flowers), but none is finer than this one, which 
grows abundantly in wet meadows and beside ponds and streams 
from Quebec to British Columbia. The large, long-stemmed blos- 
soms are a true violet in color, wonderfully deep and rich if seen 
when "violets bathe in the weto' the morn." If , some dewy morning, 
it is your privilege to come upon a little pool, bordered with 
these Early Purple Violets, then you have indeed chanced upon 
one of the most exquisite of Nature's floral gems. You will 
notice the rich, suffused beauty of the violet faces. You will 
notice the tender green of the leaves, acting, by the contrast 
of their simple freshness, as a foil to intensify the blushing beauty 
of the violets which shyly peep forth above, bejewelled with 
wonderful, translucent pearls of dew-drops. The human appeal 
is so strong that one smiles in wondering if each violet face, 
peeping into the expectant waters of the pool is simply greeting, 
or studying awaking Nature. Or have we here simply the charm- 
ing vanity of conscious beauty? 

A remarkable fact, not generally known, is that violets have 
two kinds of flowers. The second kind are inconspicuous green 
or purple buds on short, often prostrate, stems. The buds 
do not open and yet they produce capsules full of seeds. When 
this was first noticed by botanists of the eighteenth century, 
it seemed such a wonder that they named that particular kind 
the Miracle Violet. It has since been found that with few excep- 
tions all violets produce these cleistogamous flowers, as they are 
called. Self-fertilization in the bud is of course the explanation 
of the wonder. 



16 




17 



SHOOTING STAR; AMERICAN COWSLIP 

Dodecatheon pauciflorum (Durand) Greene 
PRIMROSE FAMILY 

The Shooting Star is one of the most interesting and beautiful 
of our wild flowers, whether we consider in detail its form and 
color or its general effect on the June landscape. It grows in 
wet meadows and the bright blossoms dancing above the grass 
are a delightful sight. Even as with Wordsworth's daffodils 
"A poet could not but be gay, 
In such a jocund company," 
and those of us who are not poets can also feel our hearts fill with 
pleasure and dance with the sprightly Shooting Stars. Although 
one may sometimes see ten thousand at a glance, they do not 
form a solid mass of color but are so scattered as to retain the 
effect of lightness and grace. 

The habit of the plant is shown by the picture. From the 
smooth, light green leaves rise the scapes six to fifteen inches 
high, carrying in umbel-like clusters three to ten or more nodding 
flowers. With their reflexed and twisted corolla-lobes, they re- 
semble their relative, the cyclamen, of the greenhouse, but are 
much more slender and dainty. The color is a bright purple, 
almost cerise, with the throat showing ;i pretty combination of 
white and yellow with an encircling wavy line, narrow but sharply 
defined, of dark purple. The stamens closely surround the slender 
style giving a tapering point to this quaint, winged blossom. 
A fragrance, as of hyacinths, completes the charm. 



18 




SHOOTING STAR; AMERICAN COWSLIP 
19 



PURPLE MILK VETCH 

Astragalus hypoglottis L. 
PEA FAMILY 

This is one of the earlier and smaller of the milk vetches, of 
which many different kinds grow in Western Canada. Its stems 
are slender, rather weak, branched at the base, and from three to 
eight inches high. The flower clusters resemble clover-heads, 
while the leaves are reminiscent of those of the true vetch but 
are without the tendril. The pods are short, thick, and hairy. 

The Purple Milk Vetch is common over a wide area, growing 
in the open or on the edge of thickets, in a variety of soils. It 
likes some moisture, and, among the grass in low meadows, 
makes a thrifty growth like that shown, almost natural size, 
in the picture; but the deep black loam of the prairie is for some 
reason not congenial. It may be noticed, however, that, where 
the grading of a road through such soil has in places removed 
the top layer, exposing the hard, poor-looking subsoil, the Purple 
Milk Vetch is often one of the plants that quickly and mysteriously 
covers the naked earth with verdure. How do plants, strangers 
to the immediate neighborhood, so promptly take possession? 
To attempt a full explanation would take many pages, and be 
beyond the scope of this little book. One is reminded of a sentence 
by Oliver Wendell Homes 

"Nay, there are certain patches of ground, which, having 
lain neglected for a time, Nature, who always has her pockets 
full of seeds, and holes in all her pockets, has covered with hungry 
plebian growths, which fight for life with each other, until some 
of them get broad-leaved and succulent, and you have a coarse 
vegetable tapestry which Raphael would not have disdained to 
spread over the foreground of his masterpiece." 



20 




PuRFLEjMiLK VETCH 
21 



THE FOREST INVADING A PEAT BOG 
Antagnostic Plant Societies 

I It- re is a typical picture of one phase of the struggle that is 
constantly going on between different plant societies. The birch 
lives, supported by willows and alders, have established outposts 
in the bo<r, and the main forces of the forest are coming up to 
complete the conquest. The common bog plants are still holding 
their ground, but their leaves are no longer a healthy green, 
and their flowers are small and scattered. Evidently they cannot 
last many more years. Behind this victory of the forest over 
the bog is a long story concise^ told by the late Prof. Geo. F. 
Atkinson of Cornell University in the following paragraphs : 

"Many of the peat bogs were once small ponds or lakes. 
The peat moss and other plants which find shallow water a con- 
genial place to grow in begin marching out from the edge of the 
water toward the centre of the pond. The stems of the peat 
die below and grow above. So in this way they build up a floor 
or platform in the water. The dead peat now in the water 
below does not thoroughly rot, as the leaves do in the moist ground 
of the forest, because the water shuts out the air. The partly 
dead stems of the moss pile up quite fast in making the platform, 
which sometimes is entirely composed of peat. Other plants 
may grow along with the peat. Their dead bodies also help to 
build up this floor beneath. 

"The army of peat and other water plants continues to march 
out toward the centre of the pond, though slowly. Finally, in 
many cases, the line around the shore meets in the centre and the 
pond is filled up, the floor having been extended entirely across. 
But they keep on adding each year to the floor, raising it higher 
and hi'jher. until it is high enough and dry enough for the march- 
ing armies of the dry land Brasses, shrubs, and trees. At length a 
forest comes to stand on the floor built across the pond by the 
peat moss and the other members of its society." First 
<>f I ' lii n f /,//>. (thin and Company. 



22 




THE FOREST INVADING A PEAT BOG 
23 



BAKED- APPLE BERRY; CLOUD-BERRY 

Rubus Chamaemorus L. 
ROSE FAMILY 

One must go to a peat bog in early June to find this curious 
little raspberry in blossom. Springing from rootstocks creeping 
through the moss, the stems rise only a few inches high. They 
are neither woody nor prickly as are most raspberries, and bear 
two or three simple leaves instead of the usual divided ones. 
These leaves are plaited in the bud, and in process of expansion 
the underside, with firm, close ribbing, is first exposed. Slowly 
the ribs or veins lengthen and spread apart, and as they do so, 
the leaf settles to its proper position facing the sky, so that its 
millions of cells, each a tiny starch factory, may by the energy 
of the sunshine produce a full day's output. Strikingly handsome 
the leaves are, rich and deep in texture and color. 

A single flower, like a little white rose, tops each stalk. There 
are two kinds, as may be seen in the picture, where the four centre 
ones bear clusters of stamens, while the two tall, outside plants 
have flowers with pistils only. The staminate blossoms soon 
shed their yellow dust, then shrivel up and that is the end of them ; 
but the pistillate ones, if they have received the vitalizing touch 
of the pollen grains, develop into the pleasant berries which give 
the plant one of its popular names. Many fruits in ripening 
change from green through yellow to red at full maturity, but 
here the order is reversed, from green to red, then to yellow. 

When stamens and pistils are produced by separate individuals, 
the plant is said to be dioecious. This habit makes sure of cross- 
fortilization, with its advantage of seeds endowed with superior 
vigor and adaptability. On the other hand, it is not an economical 
method as only about half the plants can produce seeds, hence 
most of the higher plants combine stamens and pistils in the same 
flower, but so arrange things that cross-fertilization is usually 
assured, or at least encouraged. 



24 



ARCTIC RASPBERRY; ARCTIC BRAMBLE 

Rubus arcticus L. 
ROSE FAMILY 

Many interesting plants not elsewhere found grow in bogs, 
for conditions of life in company with peat moss are so unusual 
that only plants of special structure and habits can endure or 
thrive. Among the commonest of these bog-dwellers are the 
Labrador tea, a low shrub with round clusters of white flowers 
and thick leaves, rusty woolly underneath, and the cranberry, 
with its slender creeping stems, firm, tiny leaves and dainty, 
pink flowers nodding an inch or two above the moss. Among 
the most curious are three carnivorous plants, the sundew, the 
butterwort (whose leaves catch and devour insects), and the 
pitcher-plant whose pitfalls are baited with honey above a slippery 
incline that sends unwary visitors to certain death below. Of 
the beautiful flowers might be mentioned the three-leaved 
Solomon's seal, the tall white bog orchis, and the pretty little rasp- 
berry shown natural size on the opposite pa'ge. 

Like the Baked-apple Berry, the Arctic Raspberry is herbaceous 
and unarmed, but more slender and with thinner three-foliolate 
leaves. The season of bloom is a week or ten days later, the 
flowers being pink or rose-colored and delightfully fragrant. 
As these are usually perfect, that is, have both stamens and 
pistils, they each produce a berry, bright red and of good flavor. 
The Arctic Raspberry likes a little shade, and is at home in wet 
mossy woods as well as in open bogs. 

Although its name suggests the polar regions, it is sometimes 
found far south in Canadian territory. 



26 



WATER ARUM; WILD CALLA 

Calla palustris L. 
ARUM FAMILY 

" Yes, though you may think me perverse, if it were proposed to me to dwell 
in the neighborhood of the most beautiful garden that ever human art contrived, 
or else of a Dismal Swamp, I should certainly decide for the swamp." Thoreau. 

If you feel in any measure the fascination of these so-called 
waste places, as did the philosopher of Walden, you will some day 
in your rambles come upon a colony of Water Arums. It is likely 
to be in a little pool in the bog or on the margin of the swamp. 
The dark masses of smooth, heart-shaped leaves should serve 
as identification. If in doubt, look for long, creeping rootstocks, 
with white fibrous roots at the joints. If not yet satisfied, break 
a rootstalk and taste the juice, but very delicately, for it has an 
acrid bite. In early Summer the flowers make such experiments 
unnecessary, as you at once recognize a humble relation of the 
stately calla lily of the greenhouse. 

The flowers proper are small, consisting of stamens and pistil 
only, and are compactly arranged around the top of the stem 
into a fleshy* spike, called the spadix. Below this is a thick, 
pointed bract, the spathe, white on the inner surface, greenish 
on the outside. This snowy banner behind the inconspicuous 
spike serves to attract insects, who unconsciously aid in ferti- 
lization as they crawl over the flowers and pass from plant to 
plant. By late Summer the spadix has developed into a large, 
knotty head of bright red berries, containing hard, smooth seeds 
surrounded by a jelly-like pulp. 



28 



SILVER- WEED; SILVER-FEATHER 

Potentilla Anserina L. 
ROSE FAMILY 

The Silver-weed has a cheerful and active disposition, readily 
adapting itself to a variety of conditions, and quickly grasping 
opportunities for advancing its fortunes. Preferring wet ground, 
yet making the most of dry, it has occupied so much territory 
that its neat silver-green uniform is well known from Newfound- 
land and New Jersey to Alaska and California. While its behavior 
at times is such as to class it with the weeds, it certainly is not 
pernicious. 

Silver-feather is a better name because of its plume-like 
leaves, silvered beneath by long, silky hairs and usually green 
on top. Sometimes, however, the upper surface has also a thin, 
silky covering. This variation with its cause is nicely shown by 
two patches beside the house of the writer. One is close to the 
foundation on the south side in poor soil, exposed to full sunlight, 
and the leaves are gray green. The other is on the west side 
in rich loam, getting no sun until after eleven o'clock, and here 
the upper surface is bright green. 

The yellow flowers are produced over a long season, as they 
spring from the axils of small leaves on the strawberry-like runners 
sent out in profusion. These runners are usually from one to 
three feet long, and from them new plants start every few inches. 
A mat of vegetation is soon formed. In producing and directing 
their runners, the plants exhibit something very like intelligence, 
as the following instance will show. On the shore of a little lake 
in 1919 grew a vigorous Silver-weed. The dry season lowered 
the water until a strip of sandy bottom eight feet wide was exposed. 
The plant was crowded behind and on either side by competing 
neighbors, but in front lay this land of promise, so, with concen- 
trated energy, a single runner was pushed out straight towards 
it. By the twenty-fourth of August an advance of over five feet 
had been made, and eighteen young plants established on the line 
of march were aiding the parent in its forward movement. 



ROUND-LEAVED ORCHIS 

Orchis rotundijolia Pursh 
ORCHID FAMILY 

Although not one of our rarest or showiest orchids, this one 
is pretty enough, and in most districts uncommon enough, to 
make its discovery a happy event to the lover of flowers. Some 
years ago, in October, I found a few dried stems with empty seed 
cases at the top and a withered leaf at the base of each, and 
recognized an old acquaintance not met with for fifteen years. 
My eagerness took me back too early the next June, but on a 
second visit, the two or three dozen plants were in full bloom. 
This small colony has flourished and spread along the little 
waterway, and last Summer several hundred flower-spikes were 
produced a sight worth going far to see, and a natural garden 
worth preserving. 

The Round-leaved Orchis lives in rich, moist woods, often 
where the ground is covered with moss, from which, leaving its 
single leaf behind, the flowers rise in crisp, glistening purity to 
a height of about six inches. They are white, delicately tinted 
pink with a suggestion of mauve. The upper sepal and two 
petals form a hood, and under it stands the column, a structure 
peculiar to the orchid family, in which are combined the organs 
corresponding to stamens and pistil in other flowers. On either 
side are wing-like sepals, while in front, the third petal spreads 
out into a purple-spotted lip or apron, and below is a curved tube 
containing nectar. The hood protects the column, the essential 
part of the flower, the lip is the landing stage for the winged 
guest, who finding in front of him the opening into the nectary, 
thrusts in his tongue, thus bringing his head against the adhesive 
ends of the two pollen masses. When he flies away to the next 
flower he of course carries the pollen along. 

The wonderful interrelationship in form and service that 
exists between flowers and insects, suggested in the above descrip- 
tion, is nowhere carried to such a specialized degree as in the 
orchid family. 



32 




ROUND-LEAVED ORCHIS 
33 



BLUE BEARD-TONGUE 

Pentstemon procerus Dougl. 

FIOWORT FAMILY 

The Penstemons liold an important place in the flora of 
\\Vst, TII America. Dr. Rydberg describes ninety-seven species 
of which at least a score are found in Canada. They are perennial 
herbs found for the most part on dry plains and hillsides. Their 
stems, which branch from the base only, hear opposite leaves 
and terminal clusters of showy blue, purple, yellow, or white 
Mowers. The corolla is irregular with a long tube and two spread- 
ing lips. Four stamens are anther-bearing, but the fifth is sterile 
and usually densely hairy, giving to the plant its curious but 
appropriate name of Beard-tongue. 

This parl ieular species the Blue Beard-tongue is character- 
istic of the southern part of our territory but strays northward 
in places. The clustered stems are 'from four to twelve inches 
hijrh and usually quite smooth as are also the leaves. The crowded 
Mowers are smaller than those of most beard-tongues and are 
dark purplish-blue of such a distinctive shade that once seen, 
it thereafter serves as a means of indentification. 

Color, however, is not always constant enough to be a safe 
guide. Blue and purple flowers are especially subject to variation, 
and among such plants as the bluebells, blue asters, bergamots, 
and great willow-herb, lighter shades than normal are common, 
and even albinos may occasionally be found. Delicate shades 
of pink and mauve are quite inconstant, and the brilliant pink. 
rose, or red of the painted cup seems to change with each variation 
of soil or exposure. Yellow is much more stable, and. although 
we have many yellow-flowered plants, each has its own particular 
tone, or its own particular way of bearing its Mowers, even its 
own way of forming groups or masses. Hence, by means of the 
colcr and the disposition of the color masses, a close observer 
can usually recognize a plant while he is still too far away to dis- 
tinguish the form of either flower or leaf. Vet even the yellows 
will sometimes prove misleading. 



34 




BLUE BEARD-TONGUE 
85 



BIRD'S-EYE OR MEALY PRIMROSE 

Primula farinosa L. 
PRIMROSE FAMILY 

The primrose, like the violet, has ever been a favorite with 
the poets. Shakespeare, Burns, Wordsworth, and many others 
have sung its j>raises. One who has rambled in the woods and 
along the lanes and hedgerows of England in early Spring can 
understand what a large place the primrose holds in the life 
and literature of the people. 

But the Bird's-eye Primrose, although widely distributed 
and often abundant, will never take the place in Canada that 
its yellow namesake holds in the Old Land. It is too shy, and so 
unassertive in color and habit that it is often walked over without 
being seen. It grows in wet meadows and is usually half hidden 
among the grass. Of this Primrose, as of the walking-fern, 
it may be said that no one ever found it, unless it was first in his 
heart. Still, observation can be assisted to locate it. For 
instance, the Shooting Star and this Primrose frequently grow 
together, so that the gaudy flowers of the former may readily 
help one to find its pretty but retiring relative.* 

Ah! here are a few, on tip-toe, as it were, to peep over the 
surrounding damp sedge. Pluck one and notice the corolla, 
pale lilac in color, .with a yellow eye. And the leaves! Notice 
how they are tufted^at the roots, of a pale green color on the upper 
side, and covered on the under side^with a fine white down which 
gives a white mealy effect. This white down also creeps up to 
cover the flower-stem which is from four to fifteen inches high. 
The whole color effect is in harmony with the surroundings, 
whilst yet leaving the flower with a modest distinction. 

*It should be said that while their periods of bloom overlap, the Shooting 
Star opens first by a week or two. 



36 







BIRD'S-EYE OR MEALY PRIMROSE 
37 



MARSH RAGWORT 

Senecio Palustris (L.) Hook. 
THISTLE FAMILY 

The March Ragwort belongs to the great family of the 
which numbers over ten thousand species in all parts 
of the earth. In Western Canada, beginning in early Spring 
with the sweet coltsfoot, the family increases in importance as 
the season advances until late in Summer the sunflowers, daisies, 
asters, goldenrods, and other members of the family quite dom- 
inate the floral world. 

The flowers differ from those of other families being borne 
many together in a compact head surrounded by bracts. In 
this subdivision of the family the flowers are of two kinds, the 
di>k f Ion-is, small, tubular, and crowded, in the centre; and the 
ray florets, more or less strap-shaped and spreading outward to 
form a kind of aureole. On account of its great size the Russian 
sunflower is a good composite to study first. 

Coming back to the March Ragwort, we notice that it is a 
stout, hairy plant. The stems are eight to forty inches high, 
the bigger ones as thick as a broom handle. All are hollow, 
with no cross partitions from just above the root to the flower 
brandies. The outside of the grooved stem and the veins of 
the wavy-edred leaves are often thickly covered with white 
cobwebby hairs which, seen through a hand lens, look as if spun 
from clear glass. The intlorcscncc is at first compact, but soon 
opens out in a rather raided way. The disks are yellowish, and 
the short broad rays are li<rht yellow. After flowering, the heads 
turn down and remain in that position until the seed is ripe, 
when they straighten up again. As with many other members 
of the family, each seed is furnished with a tuft of white hair 
that acts as a parachute to float it away on the breeze. 






38 




MARSH RAGWORT 
39 



ZONES OF VEGETATION AROUND A POND 

Marsh Ragwort forming the first belt thirty feet wide 

Such a pond as this is a good place to study plant societies, 
both congenial and antagonistic. Some plants live together in 
peace, sharing space, food, and water, and in various ways being 
mutually helpful; others wage war on their neighbors, the success 
of one bringing disaster to competitors. The character of the 
season has a large share in determining with whom victory shall 
rest. 

The year 1919, or perhaps the Fall of 1918, seemed to favor 
the Marsh Ragwort which is usually a Winter annual. In many 
places it was more in evidence than usual, but nowhere have I 
seen a more complete triumph over competing vegetation than 
it won around this particular pond. In the zone suited to it, 
every foot of space was occupied to the exclusion of all else. 
Behind the ragworts was a fairly solid belt of the great bulrush. 
Back of this were coarse grasses and sedges, among which, how- 
ever, the northern green orchis, the skullcap, mint, knotweed, 
and other plants were thriving. On still higher ground the willows 
dominated, as did the poplars on the low ridge in the background. 

By mid-August the water was gone and the mud beginning 
to dry and crack. The portion of the pond bottom that shows 
as a mud bar in the picture was densely carpeted with young 
ragworts six inches high. In the deeper parts, where the water 
remained longest, and among the dead stems of the parent plants, 
seedlings were breaking ground in countless numbers, hence the 
ragworts bid fair to repeat their triumph next year. We may wish 
them good luck, for they stay in their own place, do not march 
%p on to higher land to choke out the farmer's crops, and in 
June transform their portion of the landscape into a veritable 
"Field of the Cloth of Gold." 



40 




* 



II 



TALL LUNGWORT; BLUEBELLS 

Mertensia paniculate (Ait.) G. Don 
BORAGE FAMILY 

Although many members of the Borage family are rough, 
hairy herbs of weedy aspect, others are of marked beauty and 
refinement. Among the latter might be mentioned the vanilla- 
scented heliotrope of the greenhouses, and the forget-me-not 
which beautifies alike lonely mountain streams and formal city 
gardens. But the finest of the family and perhaps the loveliest 
of all blue wild flowers in Canada is the Virginian cowslip (Mer- 
tensia virginica). It, however, is found only in Southern Ontario 
and is rare even there, while this western Mertensia is widely 
distributed and abundant, no other blue flower of early Summer 
being so conspicuous in many districts. 

The picture shows the plant much reduced in size, as the 
stems grow from one to three feet high. They bear open clusters 
of drooping flowers which are pink when in bud, turning rich 
blue as they open. The dark green leaves, especially those at 
the base of the stem, are strongly and handsomely veined. 

In open meadows, where it sometimes grows, this Lungwort 
is rather stiff and quite hairy; in shade and along streams it becomes 
smoother, taller, and more graceful; while among bushes on 
mountain slopes, high enough to be frequently bathed injmist, 
it may be seen in such perfection as to rival its lovely eastern 
relative. 



42 




TALL LUNGWORT; BLUEBELLS 
43 



YELLOW LADY'S SLIPPER 

Cypripedium parviflorum Salisb. 
ORCHID FAMILY 

The orchids, the aristocrats of the floral world, form a large 
family, with family seat ; as it were, in the tropics and scions in 
almost all parts of the earth. Some of them, especially those 
that grow as airplants on tl. bark of trees in hot, moist forests, 
produce flowers weird and fantastic, or marvelously beautiful, 
beyond imagination. Thousands of species have been found 
by collectors who risked, and sometimes lost, their lives in the 
search. Sent home to Europe or America, these dormant plants 
have been purchased by orchid enthusiasts in whose hothouses 
under skilful and devoted care they bloom again in wondrous 
diversity of form and color. 

Our Canadian orchids are all land plants, and while a number 
have small, inconspicuous flowers, interesting chiefly because 
of their structure and family relationship, a dozen or so are of 
such beauty and distinction that they would be noticed in any 
company. Of such is the Yellow Lady's Slipper pictured here. 

The inflated lip or slipper is deep yellow, and the other parts 
are yellowish-green, often striped or shaded with dark purple. 
The long, narrow side petals are usually twisted or curled, enhanc- 
ing the charm of these strange flowers, which are so poised that 
in a breeze they seem animate, expectant, ready for eager flight. 

This orchid, growing in open woods and thickets and blooming 
in June, was at one time comparatively common in many parts 
of Canada, but advancing civilization is destructive of native 
life, and they are becoming rarer each year. The remaining 
ones should be preserved as far as possible or this splendid plant 
is likely to be exterminated. 



44 




YELLOW LADY'S SLIPPER 
45 



TWIN-FLOWER 

Linnaea borealis var. americana Rehder 
HONEYSUCKLE FAMILY 

"He saw beneath dim aisles, in odorous beds, 
The slight Linnaea hang its twin-born heads, 
And blessed the monument of the man of flowers, 
Which breathes his sweet fame through the northern bowers." 

Emerson. 

This dainty, trailing vine with small, evergreen leaves and 
fragrant, pink flowers was a favorite of Linnaeus, the great 
Swedish botanist of the eighteenth century, in whose honor it 
is named. 

In Canada it occurs from ocean to ocean and from the Arctic 
to the international boundary. It is likely to be found in woods 
surrounding bogs, on the shady side of ravines, and in any cool, 
moist forest. It is especially at home in the mountains, and 
many readers will remember how delightfully some of the wood- 
land trails at Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper are bordered with 
its "odorous beds." Spring comes first to the valleys and travels 
slowly up the mountain sides, so if the visitor be too late for it 
at the lower altitudes he need only do a little climbing. Late 
in July on a mountain slope at Jasper Park I saw, not patches 
only, but a vast, continuous carpet stretching away for miles. 
As we went up through the lodgepole pines, the first plants met 
with were in seed ; a few hundred feet higher some belated flowers 
were seen; still higher, bloom was at its best, tinting the floor 
of the rather open forest as far as one could see. The slender, 
leafy vines crept over and through the fallen needles, weaving 
a ground covering of pale green over which shimmered a delicate 
rosy-tinted light caused by the millions of little pink bells, each 
a minute censer filling the air with delicious and delicate perfume. 

" 'Neath cloistered boughs, each floral bell that suringeth 

And tolls its perfume on the passing air, 
Makes Sabbath in the fields, and ever ringeth 
A call to prayer." Horace Smith. 



46 




47 



BUNCHBERRY; DWARF CORNEL 

Cornus canadensis L. 
DOGWOOD FAMILY 

The Dogwood family is represented in Canada by many 
handsome shrubs and trees. The most famous of the latter 
group are the two flowering dogwoods, one species found in 
Southern Ontario and the other on the Pacific Coast. These 
trees, when covered in Spring with clouds of large white blossoms 
and in Autumn with brilliant foliage and bright red berries, are 
the most splendid ornaments of the woodlands where they occur. 
Owing to their limited range, however, these flowering dogwoods 
are known to comparatively few Canadians. 

But the Dwarf Cornel, the pigmy of the family, is common 
in cool, damp woods from coast to coast. Its floral arrangement 
is like that of its two big relatives. The true flowers are small 
and greenish, in a compact head surrounded by four white, petal- 
like bracts. Each flower-head springs from the centre of a 
whorl of broad, strongly-ribbed leaves, borne at the summit 
of a stem from three to eight inches high. The stems are pro- 
duced freely from creeping underground rootstocks and some- 
times dense patches are formed. A stretch of forest floor carpeted 
with these handsome leaves, studded with four-pointed stars, 
is a pretty sight. 

The flowers fade, and are succeeded by berries in the close 
bunches which give to the plant one of its common names. In 
late Summer, therefore, the green carpet is again brightened, 
this time with coral-red fruit clusters. A little later, the leaves 
assume the rich crimson shades characteristic of dogwood foliage 
Even against this gorgeous background the berries stand out 
clearly. When the sunlight flickers through the autumn woods 
on this final stage in the Bunchberry development it lights up 
a scene so warm and glowing that memory recalls it with pleasure 
in the gray days of Winter. 



48 




I" 



YELLOW COLUMBINE 
Aquilegia flavescens 8. Wats. 

CROWFOOT FAMILY 

"One sometimes seems to discover a familiar wild flower anew bi/ 
upon it in some peculiar and striking situation. Our columbine is at all times 
and in all places one of the most exquisitely beautiful of flowers: yet one 
spring day, when I saw it growing out of a small seam on the face of a great 
lichen-covered wall or rock, where no soil or mould was visible, a jet of 
foliage and color shooting out of a black line on the face of a perpendicular 
mountain wall and rising up like a tiny fountain, its drops turning to flame- 
colored jewels that hung and danced in the air against the gray rock if sur- 
face, its beauty became something magical and audacious." 

John Burrouglis. 

Mr. Burroughs, in the fine descriptive passage quoted above, 
refers to the Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) with gay 
scarlet and yellow flowers, the common species in Eastern Canada, 
but with its western range limited, perhaps, to Manitoba. Our 
illustration is of the Yellow Columbine, found chiefly in the 
mountains and foothills. The sepals of this nodding flower 
are spreading and wing-like, sometimes pale yellow, but frequen- 
tly flushed more or less with crimson. The cream-colored petals 
are concave and spurred, five horns of honey in a circle, from the 
centre of which projects a cluster of yellow stamens. Very grace- 
ful in form and foliage, as well as dainty in coloring, is this 
Yellow Columbine. 

Among the foothills, and extending its range eastward in 
open woods and meadows, grows the Small-flowered Columbine. 
The neat little flowers of this species have blue sepals, white 
short-spurred petals and short stamens which do not form a pro- 
jecting tassel as in the Yellow Columbine. 

The spurs of these quaint anl lovely blossoms contain nectar 
that can be reached only by long-tongued bees or by butterfies, 
who pay for the feast by carrying pollen from flower to flower. 
Sometimes, however, one may find a columbine in which some 
insect, unable to reach the nectar in a legitimate way, has ciitcn 
or bored a hole in the bottom of the spur. Such back-entrance 
robbery is not confined to the columbine. Other plants also suffer 
from it occasionally, but usually the designs of insect marauders 
are frustrated by a sticky flower stem, a brisly calyx, a bitter 
juice in the tissue of the corolla, or by some other device. 



50 




YELLOW COLUMBINE 
51 



NORTHERN BEDSTRAW 

Galium boreale L. 
MADDER FAMILY 

The Northern Bedstraw is a common plant from Quebec to 
Alaska and southward across the international boundary. But 
it is most abundant and reaches its highest floral development 
in the northern part of its range, blooming over quite an extended 
period in June and July. Woods and thickets, gravelly roadsides, 
railway embankments, and rocky hillsides are made beautiful 
by its light clouds of tiny four-parted blossoms, and the passing 
air is sweetened by its fragrant breath. Wild Baby's Breath 
would seem to be a more appropriate name for this dainty flower. 

In the woods the Northern Bedstraw grows thirty inches high 
with large, open panicles of white flowers. In the open the height 
is reduced to eighteen inches or less, the stems are stouter and 
more erect, and the flower clusters more compact. The plants 
pictured on the opposite page grew in dry soil in full sunshine, 
and were fifteen inches high. It will be noticed that the stems 
are square, and the narrow leaves borne in fours. The flowers 
are followed by small bristly-hairy burrs. 

Several other kinds of bedstraws are found in Canada. All 
have small, often inconspicuous flowers, and all have their leaves 
arranged in whorls of four to eight. The stems of the Sweet- 
scented Bedstraw a woodland species with leaves in sixes and 
greenish flowers in threes are soft and weak, and when dried 
make a comfortable and fragrant camp bed. Other weak-stemmed 
species are usually, furnished with stiff, deflexed hairs or bristles 
on the angles of their stems and on the edges and midveins of 
their leaves to enable them to scramble over stronger neighbors. 
The burrs of many species have hooked bristles which cling to 
passing animals or men, and in this way they become widely 
distributed. 



52 




NORTHERN BEDSTRAW 
53 



SENECA SNAKEROOT 

Polygala Senega L. 
MILKWORT FAMILY 

The Seneca Snakeroot is found in dry or rocky soil from New 
Brunswick to Alberta. It seems to be equally at home in open 
woods, among thickets, or on the plains. If supplied with shade 
and sufficient moisture, it may reach a height of sixteen inches. 
On the other hand, in full sunshine and dry soil it seems also to 
prosper, but may be only one-quarter as tall. 

The clustered stems rise from a thick, hard, and knotty root- 
stock. The lower part of the stem the part hidden in the grass 
is purple in color, and here the leaves are reduced to scales. The 
ordinary leaf is remarkably uniform in size and shape, smooth 
except on the edges, and with a prominent mid vein. The white 
flowers, borne in a terminal spike, are irregular in form. Two 
of the five sepals are white and petal like, and are called wings. 
Of the three petals, the lower and larger one concave and crested 
is called the keel. The flowers never open widely, and most 
of the time are closed, giving the flower-spike the appearance 
of being always in bud. The whole aspect of this little plant 
is neat and attractive, and although it is not at all showy its 
discovery always gives pleasure. 

The name Polygala is from the Greek meaning "much milk." 
It was applied from a belief that the eating of it by cows increased 
the secretion of the lactic fluid. Some of the other species may 
be partaken of by cattle, but this one does not seem to be eaten. 
The roots, however, although no longer considered to be a remedy 
for snakebite, have some medicinal value, and there is a limited 
commercial demand for them. 



54 




CA SNAKKK( M T 

56 



RED LILY; WOOD LILY 

Lilium montanum A. Nels. 
LILY FAMILY 

The Red Lily, in slightly different forms, is common in many 
districts from Ontario to Alberta. It grows in open woods, 
among bushes, and along roadsides in rather dry soil. Usually 
each leafy stem is crowned by a single red, or orange-red flower, 
although vigorous plants may produce two, three, or even five 
in a cluster. 

Admired for its beauty, and easily found because of its large 
size and vivid color, the Red Lily is eagerly gathered. In rural 
homes and schools it may be seen in great bunches packed into 
vases, cans, or pails. Town and city dwellers returning from an 
evening's run into the country or from a First of July excursion 
have their arms, one might almost say their cars, filled with the 
bright blossoms. The country for miles around is stripped. 
Those who gaily picked them had probably a hazy idea that wild 
flowers just happen, and in some way will always happen. But 
into the flower the plant puts its supreme effort, an effort that 
leaves the roots lax and depleted. Their energy can be restored 
only by the work of the leaves during the Summer. These Lilies 
and many other flowers are pulled up or broken off with all their 
leaves attached, hence the roots in their weakened condition 
either die or at best require several years to regain strength 
enough to produce more flowers. 

The beautiful wild flowers are the culmination of Nature's 
efforts applied to plant life through millions of years* They should 
be the heritage of mankind for all time, but the choicest are in 
danger of disappearing in a single generation. We have learned 
to hunt song-birds with field-glass and camera instead of a gun. 
Let us learn to enjoy wild flowers where they grow. Each has 
aMife story well worth reading, legible to the patient and sym- 
pathetic^observer. 



56 




RED LILY; WOOD LILY 
57 



IN A WESTERN WOODLAND 

" Nestled at his root 

Is beauty such as blooms not in the glare 
Of the broad sun. That delicate forest flower 
With scented breath, and look so like a smile, 
Seems as it issues from the shapeless mould, 
An emanation of the indwelling Life." 

A Forest Hymn Bryant. 

Something there is in the perspective of a woodland glade that 
has a tranquilizing and restorative effect upon the mind. Analysis 
would -but destroy the charm. And yet, just as one is here 
aware of a different mental attitude when "far from the madding 
crowd's ignoble strife," so one must notice the special appeal 
made by woodland flowers. Usually they are smoother and 
broader of leaf, more delicately colored, and generally more grace- 
ful than their kinsmen of the plains. Nor is variety of plant 
societies lacking. In mixed woods especially, a few steps may 
take one readily from one type of vegetation to another, the 
determining factors of the change, of course, being the amount 
of sunshine finding its way through the foliage and the amount 
of moisture in the soil. 

In the picture opposite, showing the sloping bank of a wooded 
ravine, we have in the foreground a rather compact group of 
spruce trees, and beyond the sunlit aspen forest. In the dense 
coniferous shade grow mosses and lichens in abundance but 
flowering plants are few. We may find, however, an odd specimen 
of the wild sarsaparilla, of the green-flowered wintergreen, the 
one-sided wintergreen, and small clusters of that curious 
saprophytic orchid, the early coral-root a plant without leaves, 
just pale stems bearing small flowers mottled with dull white, 
yellow, and purple. Moving out into the lighter shade on the 
edge of the spruce grove we notice flowers of cleaner and brighter 
colors the pink wintergreen, the dwarf cornel, the fairy bell, 
and the twin-flower. Under an overhanging bank are lovely 
soft beds of the oak fern, and lower down a few scattered fronds 
of the brittle fern. In the more open poplar woods grow colum- 
bines, geraniums, Canada violets, lungworts, and nodding onions. 
Going down near the brook, in still more open spaces, we find 
anemones, fleabanes, and jewel-weeds. In the stream itself 
are beds of the dainty blue speedwell. 

This list of plants, although by no means complete, will give 
the reader some idea of the flowers to be found in such a wooded 
ravine almost anywhere throughout that vast irregular region, 
stretching from Manitoba to the Rocky Mountains, and lying 
between the open prairie and the great sub-arctic forest. 



58 







IN A WESTERN WOODLAND 
N 



PINK WINTERGREEN 

Pyrola asarifolia Michx. 
HEATH FAMILY 

Our woods in early Spring lack many a delicate forest flower 
that some of us knew and loved in the East. We do not have 
the frequent April showers that bring forth May flowers. After 
the first flush, heralding its advance, the floral pageant seems 
sometimes to halt and mark time, waiting for the Summer rains. 
Meanwhile, the days lengthen, until only a few hours of darkness 
remain. Then comes the rain with its almost miraculous quicken- 
ing of vegetable life. Verdure flows over the prairies, up the 
hills, and into the woods, quickly followed by successive waves 
of gay color. In the lighter aspen shade there are more flowers 
than beneath the heavier foliage of the hardwood forest, and our 
midsummer woods are adorned with many bright blossoms. 
None is more ornamental than the Pink Wintergreen which grows 
in great profusion in rich, damp woodlands and thickets throughout 
our territory. 

In late June or early July, from the circle of thick, shining, 
evergreen leaves, rises a slender stem, five to twelve inches high, 
bearing numerous nodding flowers, each with a curved and 
protruding style. The petals are softly shaded from pale pink 
in the centre to deep rose on the edges. When a fragrance like that 
of the cultivated lily-of-the-valley is combined with such beauty 
of form and color it perfects a plant of rare loveliness. 

The large buds, from which the flower-stalks sprung, were 
fully formed during the previous Summer. All parts were there 
stem, calyx, corolla, stamens, pistil beautifully formed in 
miniature, each separate flower-bud packed away beneath its 
own scale, and the whole enclosed by a few larger red scales. 
In this condition, with perhaps a light blanket of leaves, they 
were exposed to zero weather before the snow came as addition* 
protection. 

This careful preparation of parts in miniature, so beautifully 
exhibited by the Pink Wintergreen, can be traced, in varying 
degrees, in other plants, and, generally speaking, accounts for 
the rapid development of vegetation when the quickening breath 
of Spring begins to loosen the hold of Winter. 

00 



1 



PINK WINTER*. i 

i.l 



ONE-FLOWERED WINTERGREEN; SINGLE 

BEAUTY 

Moneses uni flora (L.) Gray. 
HEATH FAMILY 

The name Moneses is derived from Greek words meaning 
"single delight" and is surely appropriate. Many flower lovers 
consider this our most beautiful wild flower, and the finding of 
a colony in bloom in the mossy spruce woods is the laying up of 
a treasure in memory. Such a pleasure is within the, reach of 
many, for the plant is widely distributed, although not as common 
as the Pink Wintergreen. These glistening, waxy blossoms 
with crisped edges, are usually white, but are said to be occasion- 
ally rose-colored. They are shown natural size in the picture 
opposite. 

This little plant is prudent as well as fair. Its chief purpose 
is to produce seeds, and send them forth with a good chance of 
success in life. The vitality that comes from cross-fertilization 
is highly desirable, and in the early stage of bloom, the pendent 
position of the flower with the relative arrangement of pistil 
and stamens gives visiting insects every chance to carry pollen 
from one flower to another, and also prevents self-fertilization. 
But even self-fertilized seeds are better than none, hence in the 
later stage, to make assurance doubly sure, the face of the flower 
is tilted upward, even when cross-fertilization has already taken 
place, giving the style an oblique postion and bringing some 
of the anthers directly above the five-lobed stigma. These 
anthers open by pores at one end, and the curve of their stalk 
of filament is now changed so that the pores point downward, 
and the pollen remaining in the sacks is shaken out upon the 

stigma below. Thus fertilization is doubly provided for 

surely a happy instance of the attempt by the individual plant 
to carry on and extend the species. 



62 



PURPLE GERANIUM OR CRANE'S-BILL 

Geranium indsum Nutt. 
GERANIUM FAMILY 

Several Geraniums with comparatively large flowers three- 
quarters of an inch or so in diameter occur in Western Canada. 
The Spotted Geranium, the common form in Eastern Canada 
has apparently not found its way westward beyond Manitoba. 
However, it is replaced by at least two handsome species 
Richardson's Geranium, with its thin leaves and delicate white 
flowers, found chiefly in woods and thickets; and this Purple 
Geranium, a more hairy and rugged plant, with bright purple 
'flowers, found in open meadows as well as in shaded places. 
Both grow to a height of two feet or more, and bloom from late 
June until August. In both, the leaves contribute not a little 
to the attractiveness of the plant. 

After the petals have fallen, the seed vessels develop in such 
a way as to give these plants the name of Crane's-bill. The 
five carpels or seed-pods, growing in a ring, suggest, remotely, 
the head of a bird, and the stout column, which rises from their 
centre, suggests the beak of a crane. This column consists of 
a central five-angled axis with which are combined five stout 
bristles, each one of which is produced up from, and forms a 
part of, one of the five seed-pods. As the seeds ripen, the column 
dries unevenly and in such a way that there is a great tension 
in each bristle. This tension is ever increasing until the seed- 
pod suddenly breaks away at its base. The bristle, coiling upward 
with great force, acts as a spring to fling the seed a considerable 
distance from the parent plant. After the explosion the empty 
cases hang from the top of the column's axis in a pretty chandelier- 
like group. 

On a dry, warm day it is interesting to watch the operation 
of this novel process of seed distribution. If the observer be 
pressed for time or lacking in patience he may hasten its action, 
for a touch will often spring the mechanism of this vegetable 
catapult 



G4 










PURPLE GERANIUM OR CRANE'S-BILL 
65 






TALL WHITE CINQUEFOIL 

Potentilla arguta Pursh 

ROSE FAMILY 

The Cinquefoils are ubiquitous in Western Canada. On Iho 
rocky summits of mountains grow low, tufted forms, starred with 
short-stemmed blossoms. In moist and fertile meadows in the 
deep valleys the}' flourish in variet}', reaching a height of Hirer 
feet or more. On the dry plains, by clothing themselves in dense 
hair or wool, they endure successfully scorching sun and wind. 
In swamps and peat bogs the marsh cinquefoil with its curious 
dark red flowers is a common sight. Along brooks and fences, 
among piles of rubbish, and in cultivated ground one will every- 
where find cinquefoils. Some two score species are scattered 
over Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. The great majority 
have yellow flowers and all have compound leaves. The leaflets 
vary in number from three to thirteen, but as five is common, 
the name, cinquefoil, has been applied to all. 

The Tall White Cinquefoil impresses one as being a rather 
handsome plant of gentlemanly attitude. Its strawberry-like 
blossoms are commonplace enough, its general aspect is not very 
different from some of its weedy kinsfolk, yet it has an air of 
distinction. Trying to analyse the cause we notice that the stems 
are tall, erect, and moderately slender, that the leaves are well- 
shaped, neatly veined, and evenly covered with somewhat glandu- 
lar hairs, that the flower clusters are compact and the blossoms 
close : set, and that there is a certain dignified reserve about the 
whole plant. It does not take advantage of superior height to 
thrust its elbows into the faces of its neighbors, and it sends out 
no runners to seize adjoining land. Yet the Tall While rinqm't'oil 
ireK on very welli n the world, and may frequently be met with 
in dry meadows and thiekeis throughout the whole breadth of 
our territory. 



66 




> 

\SP 






TALL WHITE CINQUEFOIL 
67 



COW PARSNIP 

Heracleum lanatum Michx. 
CARROT FAMILY 

This lusty perennial of decorative character is widely distri- 
buted, from Newfoundland to Alaska, and south from North 
Carolina to California, but reaching its greatest profusion in the 
North where one of the rivers is named "The Parsnip" because of 
the abundance of the growth of this plant on its banks. In the 
open it grows three or four feet high, and almost as many wide, 
while in moist, shaded places it stretches up eight feet. It prefers 
damp soil, as its broad leaf-surfaces indicate. The hollows in 
these, caused by the waved and curled edges, the shallow channels 
on the stalks of the lower leaves, and the inflated sheaths on the 
upper ones, aid in catching rain and conveying it down the stem 
to the cluster of fleshy roots. 

The white flowers, opening in June and July, are borne in 
great umbels sometimes a foot across. The outer petals of the 
outside flowers are enlarged, spreading out where they find room, 
so making the whole head more conspicuous. Such massing of 
many minute flowers, in various forms, is common among plants 
and adds to their beauty and efficiency. In the one under 
consideration, the large, honey-laden expanse of white attracts 
many insects, and the flat clusters afford a firm and ample feeding 
platform for these guests. In return they carry the pollen from 
one flower to another, and from plant to plant, so bringing about 
the cross-fertilization necessary to maintain the vigor of successive 
generations. 



68 




COW_PARSNIP 
69 



PRAIRIE PINK; SKELETON WEED 

Lygodesmia juncea (Pursh) D. Don 
CHICORY FAMILY 

This meagre plant is in striking contrast to the umbrageous 
Cow Parsnip which we have just been considering. The one 
suggests the dry plains of the South, the other, the moist valleys 
of the North; the one suggests stern struggle against conditions 
adverse to life, the other, easy enjoyment of all the good things 
in the plant world. Yet I have seen them growing within a 
few hundred yards of each other, one on a gravelly, sunny slope, 
the other in the springy soil at the bottom. Each is a successful 
and (if we share Wordsworth's faith "that every flower enjoys 
the air it breathes") a happy plant. 

The Prairie Pink is successful because it has adapted itself 
to hard conditions and ordered its life with frugality in all things. 
The roots are thick, woody, and deep in the soil, hence are not 
shrivelled up by drought. The leaves are reduced to narrow, 
pointed bracts in order that the scanty supply of moisture may 
not be lost by rapid transpiration. Even the flower-heads have 
only five florets instead of the one hundred or more found in 
many other members of the family the dandelion for instance. 
The flowers, which open in bright weather and remain open but 
a short time, are a pretty shade of pink. 



70 




PRAIRIE PINK; SKELETON WEED 
71 



SCARLET GAURA; BUTTERFLY WEED 

Gaura coccinea Nutt. 
EVENING-PRIMROSE FAMILY 

The Scarlet Gaura, an interesting plant of the open prairie, 
may often be found growing in gravelly soil from Manitoba to 
the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains. 

The much-branched stems are usually decumbent (that 
is, reclining at the base with their tips ascending) and vary in 
height from four inches to a foot or more. The small and numer- 
ous leaves are usually hoary by reason of their close coating of 
short, gray hair. The drier the soil in which the plant grows 
the heavier is this protective covering. 

But on the flowers our chief interest centres, for they have 
the curious habit of expanding four pure white petals and shortly 
afterward dyeing them scarlet. Hence, one may commonly 
find flower-spikes with white flowers above and brilliant scarlet 
ones beneath. This startling color scheme is rendered more 
striking by reason of the fact that the eight prominent stamens 
have white filaments and large brick-red anthers. Sometimes, 
however, the petals remain white during the whole of a warm 
sunshiny day. This was the case with the plants whose photo- 
graph, reproduced on the opposite page, was taken by the roadside 
at four o'clock of a day in early July. It will be noticed that the 
petals are drooping somewhat from the ardent heat, yet no blush 
of red has yet appeared. Some of these plants were taken home 
and placed in a cool cellar overnight. Next morning the flowers 
of the previous day were mostly withered, but five or six fresh, 
widely-expanded flowers adorned each stem. A good photograph 
of these plants with wide-awake blossoms was then made. 
Subsequently, when shown to a well-known botanist, the early 
morning photograph quite puzzled him, while the one taken in 
the afternoon was declared at once to be a typical picture of 
the Scarlet Gaura. 

Here it has been thought better to present the plant in its 
drowsy aspect. 



72 




73 



PURPLE PRAIRIE CLOVER 

Petalostemon purpureus (Vent.) Rydb. 
PEA FAMILY 

The Purple Prairie Clover is a perennial with a deep, tough, 
woody root from which grow clustered stems in height from one 
to three feet. The smaller stems are simple, the larger branched, 
and each stem or branch is terminated by a short, dense flower- 
spike. Before the flowers open, early in July, the spike is a soft, 
pretty shade of gray, with spiral rows of closely packed buds. 
The lower buds open first, and the circle of bright purple corollas 
travels upward. The color scheme of the flower is rendered 
more striking by reason of the deep orange anthers that project 
beyond the corolla. 

The structure of the flower is so different from the usual pea 
blossom that young botanists often have difficulty in identifying 
it. In the first place, it has no keel (formed by the union of the 
two lower petals). It has, it is true, a banner but represented 
only by a petal somewhat broader than the rest, the other four 
being alike. The five stamens are distinct from each other, 
as compared with the nine or ten more or less united stamens 
in other members of the family. Then the pod is very short 
with only one seed. 

The Purple Prairie Clover is found abundantly on dry plains 
and gravelly hills throughout our territory. It is a typical dry 
ground plant, almost as much so as the Prairie Pink described 
and pictured on earlier pages. It has more foliage than the latter 
plant, but the leaflets are narrow and the edges are rolled inward 
to protect the under side of the leaves, where the breathing pores 
are located. Its root also is admirably adapted to withstand 
drought. 

A white-flowered species, with somewhat broader leaflets and 
longer flower-spikes, is common in many districts. Two additional 
ones are also sometimes found the slender white prairie clover 
and the silky prairie clover. 




PURPLE PRAIRIE CLOVER 
75 



NORTHERN HEDYSARUM 

Hedysarum boreale Nutt. 
PEA FAMILY 

The Northern Hedysarum is a native of the northern and 
western part of the Continent. Common among thickets, along 
roadsides, and on the plains, it is, over wide areas, quite the most 
abundant member of its family. 

The picture shows it greatly reduced in size, as the plants 
photographed were more than two feet tall. The height, however, 
varies from one to three feet. The rather stout stems bear 
pinnate leaves, having from eleven to twenty-one leaflets. From 
the axils of the upper leaves spring long racemes of numerous 
pale pink, rose, or purple flowers. Although the stems are stiff, 
the drooping blossoms and light foliage lend an air of elegance 
and grace to the plant. The drooping flowers are succeeded by 
drooping pods. As these are prominently jointed, they serve 
as a ready means of identification. 

Several other species of Hedysarum occur in Western Canada. 
As none of them seem to have yet been given a common name, 
they must be referred to by their botanical names. H. 
sulphurescens closely resembles the one described above but has 
sulphur-yellow flowers, and is found chiefly in the mountains 
and foothills. H. dnerascens, with reddish-purple flowers and 
silvery leaves, is found in dry soil on the prairie. H. Mackenzii, 
the most showy one of all, is common in the meadows of the 
foothills and eastward in the southern part of the prairie region. 
On river banks it seems also to be spreading far to the East and 
North. Its manner of growth clustered stems, eight to eighteen 
inches high, forming a rounded mass of bright green foliage 
topped with clusters of large flowers of a vivid rose-purple 
renders it one of the most striking and handsome of our wild 
plants. 



76 




NORTHERN HEDYSARUM 
77 



A FLOWER-BORDERED ROAD 

-/ lover of nature never takes a walk without perceiving something 
unil interesting." John Burroughs. 

A flower-bordered trail over the gently rolling prairie, a clump 
or two of poplars or willows, overhead the deep blue sky and the 
splendid everchanging cloud formations such a scene as this 
is repeated in endless variation throughout the Prairie Provinces 
during the Summer months. 

A list of the roadside flowers would be too long for this page. 
They form a lovely natural calendar, giving to the observant 
passer-by accurate information concerning the character and 
progress of the season. No two years are just alike. Conditions 
of weather may hasten or retard flowering time. A wet year 
favors the moisture-loving plants and they make a remarkable 
display. A dry season discourages these and brings a different 
set into unusual prominence. One may use a road for a lifetime 
Mini still each year will show some new floral feature. 

Just over the ridge on this road is a little pond which three 
years ago in June was filled with slender submerged stems 
and thread-like leaves of the White Water-Crowfoot, the surface 
being starred with thousands of the delicate, golden-centred 
Mossoms. The following year the water disappeared. The 
Water-Crowfoot bravely met the new condition. It modified 
its leaves so that they could live out of water, threw out roots 
from creeping stems, and covered the mud with lacy foliage 
and the same pretty flowers. Last year the mud dried up. ;md 
only by careful search could a few weak plants be found among 
the coarse grasses and sedjres that had taken possession. If this 
(Mniiiir season the pond fills again will the Water-Crowfoot flour- 
ish as before? 

This is but an example of the many stories of plant life that 
may be read as interesting serials while one travels familiar 
roads. 



78 





A FLO 



ROAD 



HEDGE NETTLE 

Stachys palustris L. 

MINT FAMILY 

So common is the Hedge Nettle throughout Canada that it 
is no doubt known to most of our readers. Yet to know the name 
of a plant is but a preliminary to acquaintance, so let us consider 
this plant in some of its details of structure and habit. 

Although hardly a kindly way to begin we shall carefully 
dig up a thrifty Hedge Nettle and examine its roots. At once 
it will be noticed that the plant is a perennial with quantities 
of long underground rootstocks. If our plant happens to grow 
on the edge of cultivated land these runners will have been direct- 
ed away from the congestion behind towards the space and free- 
dom of the garden or field. The Hedge Nettle can therefore 
travel toward opportunity. 

In A ut iiiiin some of these underground stems become thickened 
until they look like slender white tubers, as indeed they are, 
for the portion connecting them with the plant is thin and easily 
broken, and, if these crisp tubers be taken and planted like 
potatoes, they will make a ready growth. The Hedge Nettle 
therefore carries life insurance. 

Leaving the root, we notice that the stems are square. Now, 
square stems are said to have a mechanical advantage over round 
stems where leaves are borne oppositely, as in this plant. For 
it must not be thought that stems are a simple aggregation of 
cells. On the contrary, they are wonderful and complicated 
structures, each designed to carry the loads and stand the strains 
incidental to the particular type of plant and its manner and 
place of growth. Plants constructed reinforced columns and 
girders with great efficiency and economy of material, lonn In-Tore 
human engineers knew of such things, and the Hedge Nettle 
is no mean exponent of Nature's mechanics. Of course the si cm 
has other functions besides that of furnishing support. Through 
special lines of cells in the stem the raw sap is carried upwards 
to the leaves, and through other cells the enriched sap is returned 
downwards to the roots, or carried to other growing parts of the 
plant. 

Although space does not permit of it here, the reader may pass 
on to the consideration of the leaves, flowers, and seeds, assured 
that each detail of form and arrangement is of vital use and 
meaning in the life of the Hedge Nettle. 



80 




HEDGE NETTLE 
81 



GREAT-FLOWERED GAILLARDIA 

Gaillardia aristata Pursh 
THISTLE FAMILY 

This Gaillardia, perhaps the handsomest member of the 
Sunflower tribe, is a native of the western hills and plains. Whilst 
found over a wide area, it is most abundant in the southern part 
of our territory. It prefers sandy and gravelly soil and rejoices 
in full exposure to sunshine. Its graceful form and its wonderful 
coloring have attracted the attention of horticulturists, so that 
today one may find it in the best laid out gardens everywhere. 

The stems, one or two feet high, are gray-green by reason 
of their hairy covering, as are also the leaves. The flower-heads, 
carried singly on long stalks, are from two to four inches in 
diameter. At first the disk is flat and light green, but soon after 
shows an outer ring of dark red. As the florets open, the outer 
ones first, this red ring spreads inward, its progress being marked 
by the projection of successive rings of yellow anthers. Finally, 
the green buds having all opened, the whole disk becomes reddish- 
brown, convex in shape, and heavily fringed with brown hairs. 
The broad, overlapping rays, notched at the ends, are sometimes 
entirely golden yellow but oftener at the base are flushed dark 
red, and veined, especially on the underside, with the same color. 

The whole combination of size, form, color, and texture is 
charming, and vests this Brown-eyed Susan of the plains with 
a wealth of glowing beauty. When each Province comes to 
adopt an official flower, the Gaillardia should be a candidate for 
such honor in the West. 



82 




GREAT-FLOWERED GAILLARDIA 
83 



TALL MEADOW RUE 

Thalictrum purpurascens L. 
CROWFOOT FAMILY 

Growing in open woods and thickets and along roadsides, 
this Meadow Rue, lifting its big panicles of cream-colored tassels 
six feet high, is one of the elegant plants of late June or early 
July. The large but finely divided leaves resemble coarse maiden- 
hair ferns, and, together with the feathery bloom, give an airy 
grace to the tall herb. 

It is usually of dioecious habit. Neither male nor female 
flowers have petals and the sepals are small and drop off early. 
The male cluster owes its beauty to the masses of anthers drooping 
on slender filaments, and the female cluster to the numerous 
bunches of pistils with long, glistening stigmas, which are admir- 
ably shaped to catch pollen as it drifts through the air. 

There is here no elaborate arrangement for securing fertilization 
by insects and although they may sometimes be of service, chief 
dependence seems to be placed on the wind as carrier. Con- 
sequently the flowers are held above surrounding vegetation, 
and pollen is produced lavishly to allow for the great waste 
resultant from this simple method. 

Sometimes the pistillate plants bear also a few stamens with 
fertile anthers, showing that there is perhaps an ambition to reach 
the higher development which would be indicated by the pro- 
duction of perfect flowers, a point already reached by some of 
the meadow rues. 

In our greatly reduced photograph are shown two male plants 
on the outside and a female in the centre. 



84 





TALL MEADOW RUE 
85 



LOCO-WEED 

Oxytropis Lamberti Pursh 
PEA FAMILY 

The Loco-weed, although well-known in Western Canada, 
is notorious rather than renowned. Its bad reputation is due 
to its poisonous effects when eaten by sheep, cattle, and horses, 
causing them to stagger in their gait, to walk in circles, and other- 
wise behave as no well-regulated animals should. Sometimes the 
death of the afflicted animals results. Yet there seems to be 
some mystery about the plant, for over certain wide areas where 
it grows one scarcely ever hears of a case of loco-poisoning, while 
other parts of the country report such an occurrence frequently. 

The Loco-weed exhibits great variation also in form and 
color, both among individuals in the same locality, and among 
the types found in different localities. Our picture gives a general 
idea of the aspect of the plant clustered leaves and flower-stalks 
springing from a deep root, both leaves and stalks more or less 
gray with silky hairs, and many pea-shaped blossoms borne in 
spikes. Frequently, however, the spikes are denser and shorter 
than those shown opposite, and, instead of light cream-colored 
flowers such as this plant produced, the bloom may be purple 
or reddish-purple. 

Although " beauty is what beauty does" the Loco-weed 
is a pretty plant, and it has several handsome relatives. Foremost 
of these is the Showy Oxytrope found commonly on dry prairies 
from Manitoba to the Rockies. It may be distinguished from 
the Loco-weed by its more hairy leaves, which are so densely 
covered with long silvery hairs as to appear white; by its leaflets 
which are borne in bunches of three to five instead of singly; 
and by its more showy rose-purple flowers which are arranged 
in more narrow and elongated spikes. Indeed, the Showy 
Oxytrope (0. splendens) is well named, for with its shafts of bright 
blossoms rising from a mass of soft, shining white foliage it forms 
in June one of the most conspicuous .and splendid ornaments 
of the dry prairie. 



86 




LOCO-WEED 
87 



NODDING WILD ONION 

Allium cer-Hiiiim tioth. 

LILY FAMILY 

As a culinary herb the onion is known to everyone, but many 
fail to recognize in this dainty and graceful plant a member of 
that odorous tribe. And yet its narrow, long-necked bulbs 
possess the characteristic odor in such concentrated power as 
to render them highly objectionable to some people. Still, since 
the bulbs are deep in the soil, they need not interfere with our 
admiration for the pretty flowers. 

The leaves of the Nodding Wild Onion are not hollow tubes 
like those of the garden onion, but are flat and grass-like, and pale 
jrrcen in color by reason of a whitening bloom. The flower- 
stalks, growing one or two feet high, over-top the leaves. Each 
stalk bears many nodding flowers in an umbel. At first each 
luicl cluster is enclosed in 'a thin, semi-transparent membrane, 
as shown in the upper left-hand corner of our picture. Soon the 
expanding buds burst this fragile covering, and one after another 
open like tiny bells with six projecting stamens. In texture the 
(lowers are thin and delicate, and in color they vary from white 
to rose, and purple, the more delicate shades being common. 

The sheathed buds, rising upon a slender stalk and bursting 
into downward-pointed 'blossoms, suggest a rocket, which, rising 
high into the air, curves gracefully earthward and then, explod- 
ing, casts down a shower of gaily-colored stars. 

The Nodding Wild Onion is a typical flower of tin- prairie 
country and in midsummer may often be found blooming on 
wooded banks among thickets, and in meadows. 




NODDING WILD ONION 



TALL OR GLAUCOUS ZYGADENUS; WHITE 

CAMAS 

Zygadenus elegans Pursh 
LILY FAMILY 

This beautiful Zygadenus may frequently be found in wet 
meadows throughout the Western Provinces. However it may 
occur, in scattered groups or in greater profusion, it is always in 
a quiet and elegant way an attractive feature of the landscape. 

Springing from bulbous roots, the stems rise to a height of 
one to three feet. Both stems and leaves are smooth and glaucous 
whitened with a bloom. The smaller stems bear their flowers 
in a simple raceme, but the stronger ones may carry a large, open 
panicle of bloom a foot in length. Each flower, about three- 
quarters of an inch in diameter, is white or greenish-white with a 
large green gland, shining with a moist secretion, near the base 
of each of its six divisions. The three-parted pistil with the 
six surrounding stamens adds much to the beauty of the flower. 

This White Camas, to use another of its names, is unfortunat e 
in its relatives. Several related species, known as Death Camas, 
are so poisonous that numerous animals, especially sheep, die 
each year from having eaten of them. The White Camas is said 
to have in some degree the same poisonous principle, but to be 
very seldom eaten by stock. With the descriptions here given 
and the picture shown opposite as guides to identification no 
one need make a mistake. The deadly species are smaller in 
size, with narrower leaves which are rather rough to the touch. 
Moreover, the gland, so distinctive of the White Camas, is not 
much in evidence in the smaller and more crowded yellow or 
yellowish flowers of the Death Camas. 



90 




TALL OR GLAUCOUS ZYGAOENUS; WHITE CAMAS 
01 



UVAL-EEAVED MILKWEED 
Asclepias ovatifolia Dec. 

MILKWEED FAMILY 

A flower of such marked individuality as the milkweed, once 
seen in life or in picture, is easily recognized thereafter. For 
although several species occur in Western Canada, differing in 
color and in many details, the unique flower-form common to 
all, sots them apart from other plants. 

The Oval-leaved Milkweed is probably the commonest western 
species, growing in rich, well-drained soil, either in full sunshine 
or among bushes, from Manitoba to Alberta. Its stalks are 
from six to eighteen inches high, its leaves, especially on the 
underside, are soft-downy, and its greenish-white flowers, some- 
times tinted with purple, are borne in soft umbelled clusters. 

And now to a closer study of these prettily and curiously 
formed flowers. In addition to the calyx, and a corolla with five 
reflexed lobes, there is in the centre of the flower a five-lobed 
structure happily named the crown. But when the botanist speaks 
of each lobe of the crown as a hood, and the hood as bearing a 
horn, and the horn as having a tooth on either side, it begins to 
grow confusing. Still, these features may be seen fairly well in 
our picture. But to study the inner structure of the flower in de- 
tail is impossible here. Suffice it to say that the pollen is produced 
in minute paired masses, each pair connected by a kind of clip, 
having a catch in the centre, and that the two pistils are em- 
bedded in a fleshy column. The problem of the plant is to bring 
the pollen masses of one flower into contact with the stigmas of 
another flower, and this can only be done by insect agency. 
Accordingly, the flowers secrete nector, and then advertise it 
by a heavy sweet odor which attracts bees and butterflies in 
large numbers. 

Alighting upon one of the yielding flower clusters, the heavy 
bumble bee finds himself suddenly swinging head downward. 
( i rasping frantically for a foothold, his legs are likely to slip 
into the catches on the pollen clips, and as he jerks himself free 
the pollen is torn from the flower and remains attached to his 
legs. Later, the same kind of a scramble for foothold while sip- 
ping nectar results in some of the pollen being rubbed off upon 
the stigmas of other flowers. 

To the human observer this may seem a rough way of per- 
forming a delicate operation. It may also seem to be a highly 
complicated mechanism for producing tlo apparently small 
n'siilts attained, for of the thirty of forty flowers in a cluster. 
usually only one or two become fruitful and develop into big, 
soft pods of silky-tufted seeds. But although we may wonder 
at Nature's methods, they are here amply justified in the final 
result, for the milkweeds are a numerous, vigorous, widely 
distributed, highly successful tribe of plants. 

92 




OVAL-LEAVED MILKWEED 



ROUGH FLEABANE DAISY 

Erigeron glabellus Nutt. 
THISTLE FAMILY 

Fleabane daisies are extremely common in Western America. 
In Rydberg's Flora one hundred species are described, of which 
probably one-third are found in Canada. A number of these, 
however, grow only in the mountains. 

The Erigerons are often mistaken for Asters. Without going 
into botanical details, it may be said that the former bloom in 
June and July, the latter in August and September. Also, the 
Erigerons have smaller and much more numerous disk florets, 
and narrower and more numerous ray florets than the Asters. 
This may be seen in the picture opposite, where the close firm 
disk, made up of a multitude of tiny florets, is encircled by a thick 
fringe of fine rays numbering one hundred or one hundred and 
fifty. 

The Rough Fleabane grows in dry soil and is common on the 
prairie. Its stems are from five to fifteen inches high. They 
and the leaves are usually somewhat rough to the touch, although 
hardly rough enough to justify the common name of the species. 
The flower-heads on each stem are few in number, but, as the 
stems are clustered, the flowers make a pretty show among the 
grass. Their disks are yellow, and their rays blue, purple, mauve, 
or occasionally nearly white. 

An earlier-flowering species is so abundant and showy that it 
must have at least a few words of description. It is the Phila- 
delphia Fleabane, with upright stems, usually from two feet to 
three and one-half feet high, each carrying many pink or lavender 
flowers. Unlike the Rough Fleabane, this species loves wet 
ground. One may often see stretches of low land brightened 
by its myriad blossoms, or with even greater pleasure one's eye 
may trace the winding course of a brook through a meadow, 
by the bands of these gay flowers along its margins. 



94 




ROUGH FLEABANE DAISY 
95 



WILD BERGAMOT 

Monarda mollis L. 
MINT FAMILY 

This is a handsome member of the aromatic Mint family, 
growing in abundance on the prairie, along roadsides, and among 
open thickets. The stems are one to two-and-a-half feet high, 
bear gray-green, soft-hairy leaves, and are crowned in midsummer 
by rosy-pink or lilac flowers in dense clusters. These open from 
the centre outward. The long, narrow, upper lip of the corolla 
stands erect, the lower and broader lip is curved downward, as 
are also the buds, both being covered with soft hairs and showing 
delicate gradation in color from nearly white to purple. The 
combination of form, texture, and color throughout the entire 
plant is in quiet, but elegant, taste. 

Unlike the eastern Bergamot many flowers are open at once, 
so that the head is full and fluffy. This fulness of flower-head, 
or length of spike, is noticeable in many plants of Western Canada. 
The phenomenon is due to the coolness of the nights, to frequent 
summer showers, and to the moisture-holding power of the black 
prairie soil. In an unusually hot and dry season, the individual 
flowers fade more quickly and the richness of the floral display 
is diminished. 



96 







WILD BERGAMOT 
97 



A FERNY DELL 

A CONGENIAL PLANT SOCIETY 

To discover such a fern-filled woodland as this would be 
delightful anywhere, but especially is it so in the Prairie Prov- 
inces, where, owing to the moderate rainfall and dry air, ferns 
are not as much in evidence as in the moister parts of Eastern 
Canada and British Columbia. It has been stated that ferns are 
not found anywhere in the prairie region even where trees and 
brush abound. Such a statement overstates a tendency, since our 
picture, taken in prairie country, is evidence that luxuriant beds 
of ferns do so occur, further, they are more numerous than is 
commonly believed. 

They do not of course occur on the dry, open plains. Shade 
and moisture are necessary for this Ostrich Fern, as it is called, 
with its great fronds three to six feet high. But such favorable 
conditions are found in wet woods and thickets, especially along 
streams, and from Newfoundland to British Columbia, one 
occasionally meets with it. As will be noticed, the fronds grow 
in clusters or crowns. These spring from underground runners 
sent out the previous season by the older rootstocks. Hence, 
when the plant finds a suitable habitation, an extensive mass 
of lovely foliage is soon formed. 

Ferns do not, like the flowering plants, produce seeds, but 
rather great quantities of spores, minute and dust-like. These 
spores are often borne in cases 011 the backs of the ordinary leaves, 
but in other species, the one before us for example, special con- 
tracted leaves, called fertile fronds are produced. 

Ferns are an ancient race. Before the coming of any bright- 
colored flowers, even before the grasses, they appeared on the 
earth. They flourished in great splendor during the Carboni- 
ferous age, reaching the size of great trees. Along with /nml 
club-mosses and horsetails, they covered the interminable 
marshes of that time, ;m<l from the tropical luxuriance of their 
growth resulted most of the coal beds of the world. Although 
appearing so early, perhaps millions of years before man, the 
grace and elegance of fern foliage, even as known to us in the 
smaller forms descended from that distant age, has never been 
surpassed. The Fern still delights us by its charming form and 
restful green, and the strength of its appeal is measured by the 
certainty with which it is assured a place in our schemes of home 
and garden decoration. 

98 




99 



GREAT WILLOW-HERB ; FIRE-WEED 
Epilobium angusti folium L. 

EVENING-PRIMROSE FAMILY 

"A goodly and stately plant, having leaves like the greatest 

\cillnw garnished with brave flowers of great beautie, 

consisting of four leaves apiece of an orient purple color." 

John Gerard, 1545-1612. 

Growing to a height of three to eight feet, its steins thickly 
set with long, narrow, willow-like leaves, each stem topped by 
a big spike-like raceme of bright purple blossoms, the Great 
Willow-herb is a striking and handsome feature of any landscape 
where it occurs. And its occurrence is extremely common, 
for the Great Willow-herb is one of the eminent^ successful 
plants of the Northern Hemisphere. It succeeds by endowing 
its numerous seed-children with almost unequalled means for 
rapid and distant travel. Hence they are always first, or amongsl 
the first, to reach land newly cleared by axe or fire, where they 
quickly cover the charred desolation with the beauty of their 
fine foliage and brilliant flowers. 

The lower flowers on the stalk open first, and in the early 
period of bloom the anthers ripen and shed most of their pollen. 
During this time the style is bent down out of the way and the 
lobes of the still immature stigma are not yet opened. After 
the pollen is gone the style straightens, and the four branches 
of the stigma expand to form a cross directly in front of the 
centre of the flower. Now this arrangement obviously prevents 
self-fertilization. It also ensures cross-fertilization by the bees 
For the bees are co-workers with the flowers in this matter. 
Bees always begin at the bottom of a flower-spike and work 
upward, hence when they leave the newly-opened blossoms 
at the top they are well dusted with pollen. Ftying to another 
plant, most of this pollen is rubbed off on the ripe stigmas of 
the lower flowers, and so the process is repeated throughout the 
bright hours of the midsummer day. That the bees and the 
flowers work together effectively is shown by the heavy spike 
of long, well-filled seed pods that almost invariably results. 

For a picture of- the seed pods and some facts regarding the 
great buoyancy of the tiny, down-tufted seeds, the reader is 
referred to page 128. 

100 




GREAT WILLOW-HERB; FIRE WEED 
101 



GRASS OF PARNASSUS 
Parnassia palustris L. 

SAXIFRAGE FAMILY 

For a plant with short, broad leaves and showy white flowers 
"Grass of Parnassus" seems a strange name. It has, however, 
the sanction of distinguished origin and ancient usage, having 
been applied to this very species by Dioscorides, a learned Greek 
physician of the first and second centuries, who has been called 
the founder of botany. 

The entire-margined, heart-shaped leaves of the Grass of 
Parnassus all spring from the rootstock, with the exception of 
a single one, which clasps the stem one-third of the way to the 
flower. Each stem, four to twelve inches high, terminates in a 
single white blossom an inch or so in diameter always facing 
the sky. Although of a very common form open, regular, and 
five parted these flowers have such individuality of detail that 
once attentively observed they are not afterwards forgotten or 
confused with others. The broad petals are clearly and hand- 
somely veined with light green. In front of each stands a fan- 
shaped group of nine to fifteen slender white filaments each top- 
ped, not by an anther, but by a small yellow knob. Together the 
five groups form a kind of grille surrounding the inner parts of 
the flower. Since even minute details of structure are not with- 
out use and meaning in the life of a flower, it will be an interest- 
ing problem for readers to discover what purpose is served by this 
unusual and prominent floral accessory. The centre of the flower 
is, of course, occupied by the ovary the immature seed capsule 
which is short and round, and bears on top three or four stigmas. 
These stigmas, however, do not ripen until late in the blooming 
period. Surrounding the capsule and alternate with the petals 
are five stamens whose method of development is worth watching. 
When the petals first expand each stamen is close-folded against 
the capsule. Soon one of them straightens up, elongates its 
filament, and takes a place in the centre of the flower directly 
in the way 'of alighting insects. Later, probably the next day, 
a second stamen, ripening its pollen, acts in the same manner. 
The other three follow suit, the anthers of the earlier ones having 
meanwhile shed their pollen and fallen off. This deliberate 
development gives insects ample time in which to accomplish 
their mission of cross-fertilizaton, and full seed-pods usually 
result. 

In midsummer, throughout Canada to the Arctic Circle, the 
starry blossoms of the Grass of Parnassus form constellations 
in many wet meadows, and a Milky Way around many a grassy 
pool. 

102 




GRASS OF PARNASSUS 
103 



Apocynum androsaemi folium L. 
DOGBANE FAMILY 

Although placed by botanists in a separate family, the dogbanes 
are allied to the milkweeds. The same kind of milky juice 
promptly oozes from the slightest abrasion of their delicate 
skin. Both have simple leaves with entire margins, and both 
bear pods filled with down-tufted seeds; but, whereas the pods 
of the milkweeds are fat, spindle-shaped, and upright, those of 
the dogbanes are long, slender, and drooping. In bloom also they 
differ, the umbelled, complex flowers of the milkweeds being 
replaced in the dogbanes by open clusters of simple bell-shaped 
flowers. 

The Spreading Dogbane, a common plant throughout Canada, 
grows on wooded banks, among thickets, in fields, and along 
roadsides. Studied in these different situations, it exemplifies 
very nicely the influence of illumination on plant form and growth. 
In woodlands the plant is tall, and the leaves on each branch are 
arranged in one plane in order to take full advantage of the 
overhead light; the flower clusters terminating the branches are 
comparatively small, and the whole effect is that of a richly- 
leaved plant sparingly adorned with pretty pink blossoms. In 
full sunlight the plant is lower and more spreading, the leaves are 
smaller, relatively fewer in number, and more or less twisted 
out of the horizontal plane. The flowers on the other hand are 
much more abundant, and often the large open clusters on the 
more numerous branches unite to form a floral hemisphere, or 
sometimes almost a sphere within which the leaves seem of quite 
secondary importance. 

As might be expected, the plants growing in the open bear 
the greater number of seed pods, for insects love the sunshine, 
and, like the milkweeds, the Spreading Dogbane is dependent 
upon their good offices for the fertilization of its flowers. It 
has, however, a terrible way of punishing certain small flies 
who apparenty are unable to be of service in this matter and 
yet desire the flower's nectar. As the unwelcome visitor eagerly 
reaches for the honey, it frequently happens that his tongue is 
caught in a notch in the centre of the flower, and, unable to free 
himself, the unhappy creature slowly dies of starvation. In the 
shade this tragedy is seldom seen, but in sunshine it is so common 
that the plant is sometimes called Fly-trap. 

104 




SPREADING DOGBANE; FLY-TRAP 
105 



GIANT HYSSOP 

Agastache Foeniculum (Pursh) Kuntze 
MINT FAMILY 

In midsummer the breath of the prairie is fragrant with the 
spicy odors of the mints. In midwinter, if one shake up the hay 
in the farmer's mow, the air at once becomes redolent with the 
same perfumes which recall to memory the warmth and color 
of the sunlit plains. 

Certain members of the family are low-set plants with small 
flowers clustered in the axils of the leaves; others, like the Wild 
Bergamot described on a previous page, are taller with showy 
terminal flower-heads; still others are coarse and weedy. 

This Giant Hyssop, a tall and handsome mint, may frequently 
be seen on the plains, along fence rows, and among bushes from 
Manitoba to Alberta. Its smooth, sharply angled stems grow 
from two to four feet high. Its anise-scented leaves are of marked 
beauty, being firm in texture, triangular-ovate in outline, sharply 
and evenly toothed, dark green and strongly veined above, and 
a clean white beneath. The flowers, produced over a long season, 
are borne in terminal spikes two to five inches in length. Fre- 
quently these spikes are compact throughout, but the larger 
ones may be interrupted by pairs of small leaves and short lengths 
of stem. The bright blue corollas, about two-fifths of an inch 
long, project almost at right angles to the stem. The calyces 
are also tinted blue, and after the corollas wither and fall off this 
blue shade deepens, leaving the tall, leafy wands still conspicuous 
and decorative through the rest of the Summer. 

It is interesting to notice that, whereas, in a simple flowi 
spike the blossoms open in a regular, easily recognized ordc 
here, in the spike of the Giant Hyssop, they seem to appe* 
at random up and down its length. Yet for each plant there is 
a master design, and it cannot be doubted that these flowers also 
open in a definite, predetermined order. But in these dense 
spikes the scheme is not readily apparent, for we have here a 
double geometrical design, first in the arrangement of clusl 
on the stem, and second in the arrangement of flowers in th< 
cluster. 



106 







GIANT HYSSOP 
107 



WILD MORNING GLORY; HEDGE BINDWEED 

Convolvulus sepium L. 
MORNING GLORY FAMILY 

11 And starred with a myriad blossom the 

long convolvulus hung}" Tennyson. 

Draping banks, bushes, and fences with handsome foliage 
and beautiful trumpet-shaped flowers, the Wild Morning Glory 
twines its graceful way from Newfoundland to British Columbia. 
Its trumpets are sometimes pink with white stripes, but in Western 
Canada they seem to be usually white, and since we have here 
the unusual phenomenon of both pollen and pistil being white, 
the flower is arrayed in bridal purity. In the throat of the 
flower are fine tubes in a circle (they may be readily seen in the 
picture opposite), each with a honey gland. Occasionally a big 
sphynx, or humming bird moth may be seen hovering over 
these wells of nectar, but in Western Canada certain species of 
bees are the usual insect visitors. 

The Morning Glory climbs by twining its stems around any 
support within reach. When, in the Spring, from the perennial 
root a new shoot starts growth, its tip begins to revolve. Des- 
cribing, as it lengthens, ever-widening circles, it seeks something 
on which to ascend. If fortunate in touching anything, it at 
once begins to entwine the support and seems by such contact 
to be stimulated to greater growth. If nothing be found, the 
shoot at length becomes so heavy that it falls prostrate, but the 
growing tip, like Antaeus touching the ground, finds new strength 
from the contact to again raise itself and swing in circles from 
this advanced point. If several shoots chance to come together 
they entwine each other, forming a living cable. Such cables 
may often be seen writhing up from the ground as if in an agony 
of endeavor to reach some support. Being stiffer than a single 
strand, they rise higher and may sometimes attain to an overhead 
branch that would be beyond the reach of a single shoot. The 
claim has been made that climbing plants can sense in some way 
the proximity of a suitable support. Wonderful stories in support 
of such a claim have been told. But, on the whole, facts seem 
to discredit such a theory. The reader may easily try some 
simple experiments which might help to decide this interesting 
point. 



108 




WILD MORNING GLORY; HEDGE BINDWEED 
109 



BLAZING STAR; BUTTON SNAKEROOT 

Liatris scariosa Willd. 
THISTLE FAMILY 

Common names of plants are oft-times curious and sometim< 
inappropriate, but whoever called this one Blazing Star had a 
pretty fancy. The plant grows on dry plains and hills amonj 
short grasses above which the flowers shine brilliantly. On 
nearer view, the overlapping bracts of the involucre the scale 
surrounding the flower-head are seen to be dark red in color. 
As the florets open, long style-branches of a vivid rose-purpk 
are thrust out, as if from the dull smoldering glow of the bud 
had erupted darting tongues of flame. 

As to its other name, Button Snakeroot, the button is th< 
globular corm, or rootstock, an inch or so in diameter, at the 
of the stem, and it is reputed to be a remedy for snake bites. 

The plants vary in height from six to eighteen inches, depending 
upon the fertility of the soil and the amount of moisture it contains. 
They are in bloom about the first of August. The flowers are 
interesting and unusual for this reason: In most flowers the 
style is rather inconspicuous, its function being to connect the 
stigma and ovary, and to hold the stigma in the proper position 
to receive pollen according to the special method adopted by each 
plant. But in the case of the Blazing Star, although the style- 
branches are stigmatose only at the base, there is a remarkable 
development carried to such a degree that it is the styles that make 
the flowers showy, not the usual gaily-colored corollas. 



110 




BLAZING STAR; BUTTON SNAKEROOT 
111 



PAINTED CUP; INDIAN PAINT BRUSH 

Castilleja miniata Dougl. 
FIGWORT FAMILY 

That the Figwort family contains many floral oddities is 
evidenced by the common names of some of its members, such as 
snapdragon, turtle-head, monkey-flower, owFs clover, elephant's 
head and so on. Nor are these names so wildly fanciful, since 
the resemblances are sometimes very real. In the elephant's 
head for instance, each tiny flower on the long, slender spike 
imitates the broad spreading ears and the upturned trunk of the 
elephant in a remarkable manner. 

The Painted Cup, a familiar plant from Manitoba to the 
Rockies, is curious in a different way. The flowers are borne 
in dense leafy spikes at the top of a leafy stem, but, being greenish- 
yellow in color, they are scarcely noticeable among the longer 
and more brilliantly colored bracts, which look as if they had 
been dipped in a pot of scarlet paint. Its other common name 
Indian Paint Brush is therefore more appropriate than Painted 
Cup. Still, the color of the bracts varies greatly, not only in 
the several species found in Western Canada, but also among 
different individuals of the same species, ranging from scarlet 
and brick-red to rose, pink, and even to white. Individually, 
the plants are rather coarse but in the mass their effect is beautiful, 
and many a hillside and prairie seems aflame with them. 

Not the least interesting fact in the life of the paint brush 
is its deviation from what one might call the standards of common 
honesty in plant life. For frequently this plant attaches itself 
to the roots of other plants and steals from them their life juices. 
In short, it seems to be by instinct, if not always by opportunity, 
a parasite. Still its moral declension is not complete. For in 
the case of those plants which are wholly parasitic in nature their 
low character is usually revealed by the absence of green color 
in their leaves. But where, as with the paint brush, the theft 
is incidental, as it were, where the plant can, and to a certain extent 
does, live by its own exertions there is usually little outward 
sign of this brand of degeneracy. 



112 




PAINTED CUP; INDIAN PAINT BRUSH 
113 






A WESTERN RIVER SCENE 

"But there is one thing a large river does for one that is beyond 
the scope of the companionable stream, it idealizes the landscape, 
it multiplies and heightens the beauty of the day and of the season. 
A fair day it makes more fair, and a wild and tempestuous day it 
makes more wild and tempestuous. It takes on so quickly and 
completely the mood and temper of the sky above _ _ _ . How it 
enhances and emphasizes the beauty of those calm motionless 
days of Summer or Fall, the broad glassy surface perfectly dupli- 
cating the opposite shore, sometimes so smooth that the finer floating 
matter here and there looks like dust upon a mirror; 

John Burroughs. 

Not always is the river so placid as in our picture. When 
summer heat melts the snow on the mountains, and summer 
rains along its great length swell the flood, the water rises rapidly 
and sweeps along in swelling strength chafing at its steep ^clay 
banks and carrying away soil and plants that are not firmly 
anchored. Hence, we find that the perennial plants that grow 
on these steep river banks are either grasses with numerous 
intertwining rootstocks firmly binding together the soil/ or else 
plants that have deep and strong roots, like Hooker's mugwort, 
shown in the foreground of our picture, Mackenzie's hedysarum, 
the deflexed oxytrope, and other herbs of like habit. Sometimes 
several inches of surface soil will be carried away from the tap 
roots of these plants and the roots with their tufted stems hang 
down, dirty and forlorn. But abatement of the flood brings 
restoration to air and sunshine. The leaves quickly resume 
their interrupted functions, the stems bend upward hopefully. 
and soon the bank is again clothed with clean, fresh verdure. 



114 




A WESTERN RIVER SCENE 
115 



GIANT SUNFLOWER 

Helianthus giganteus L. 
THISTLE FAMILY 

The Giant Sunflower is so called because of its tall stems 
which sometimes grow ten feet high, although half that height 
or less is commoner. As compared with the thick stems, broad 
leaves, and massive heads of the cultivated Russian sunflower, 
it is not at all gigantic, for its stem is usually much branched and, 
except at the base, rather slender, its leaves narrow and taper- 
pointed, and its flower-heads only two or two-and-a-half inches 
across. Still it is a big, vigorous plant and with such a capacity 
for spreading and massing that it may often become a troublesome 
weed in low ground. From the Lake of the Woods to the Rockies, 
the Giant Sunflower is abundant and furnishes in many, a mid- 
summer landscape great expanses of radiant color. 

If a stem of this big herb be dug up in Autumn it will bring 
with it a great cluster of roots. Some are ordinary feeding and 
anchoring roots, others are so thickened as to look like small 
sweet potatoes. From among these, spreading out in all directions, 
are stout creeping rootstocks. In these spindle-shaped tubers 
is stored concentrated building material upon which the runners 
draw in early Spring, so getting a good start in their work of 
extending the sunflower colony. 



116 




GIANT SUNFLOWER 
117 



BROAD-LEAVED ARROW-HEAD 

Sagittaria latifolia Willd. 
WATER-PLANTAIN FAMILY 

A handsome plant is the Arrow-head with distinctive and 
decorative leaves and flowers. Growing in shallow water or mud, 
along the margins of ponds and streams, it occurs commonly 
and often abundantly throughout most of the North American 
continent. Since aquatic plants are subject to sudden changes 
in their surrounding conditions floods may increase the current 
of the streams and raise the water in the ponds, or drought may 
dry up both it is not strange to find that this plant exhibits great 
variation in size and form. Its height may be six inches or two feet. 
Its leaves may be broad or narrow, but, unless submerged during 
growth, they retain their arrow-head shape. The plants are 
occasionally dioecious but usually monoecious, that is, bearing 
both male and female flowers on the same plant but separately. 
As may be seen by referring to the picture opposite, both kinds 
grow in clusters of three around the common flower-stalk. Both- 
kinds also have three glistening white petals more delicate 
than the most gauzy fabric ever spun by man. But in the centre 
of the male flower is a beautiful cluster of golden stamens, while 
in the female flower is a dull green, rounded mass of pistils. 

The superior beauty of the male over the female blossom, 
although not fully apparent in our picture, is quite pronounced, 
and follows a general rule among plants. Many other examples 
of this might be mentioned for instance, the long drooping 
male tassels of the birch and alder as compared with their small 
inconspicuous female catkins, or the golden dress of the male 
willow as compared with the quieter silver of the female. Again, 
in the case of the cultivated squash or pumpkin, both sexes have 
great orange-yellow trumpets, but the female, close-seated upon 
the embryo fruit, is partly hidden by the leaves, while the male 
rises up on a long stalk to better display his splendor. Yet these 
decorative distinctions of male and female dress and form are 
not motived by anything corresponding to human vanity; rather 
they spring from vital necessities in the life, not of the individual, 
but of the species. 



118 







119 



MARSH FELWORT 

Pleurogyne fontana A . Nels. 
GENTIAN FAMILY 

This plant is probably an unfamiliar one to many of our 
readers. It is said by the late Mr. J. M. Macoun to be character- 
istic of alkali flats in the southern part of the prairie country, 
and Rydberg's Flora gives its habitat as mountain bogs. The 
plants pictured on the opposite page grew hundreds of miles 
from the international boundary and far from the mountains, 
and it probably occurs on brackish shores and in salt marshes 
over a wide range. 

One reason why it is little known is its habit of opening its 
flowers in bright sunshine only, and then for but a short time. 
Another is that its usual rather desolate surroundings do not 
promise the flower lover much in the way of floral beauty, and he 
is likely to turn to more fertile fields. Finally, it is a capricious 
annual and may appear in a neighborhood one season and then 
not to be seen again for several succeeding years. In this latter 
elusive quality it resembles its beautiful relative the fringed 
gentian whose flowers of heavenly blue have captivated alike 
the poet and the artist. 

Individual plants of the Marsh Felwort, even when growing 
together, differ curiously in size. Some are three or four inches 
high bearing but one or two blossoms, each slender stem bending 
to the lightest breeze. Others grow to a height of fifteen inches 
and are stiffly erect with a dozen or more close-set flowers. The 
white corolla is so deeply cleft into four or five lobes, that each 
seems to be a separate petal. At first sight, also, the flower 
seems to have neither style nor stigmas. The style is indeed 
lacking, but closer examination will revel the latter as stigmatose 
lines on the sides of the ovary quite an unusual arrangement. 

The flowers open in late Summer and it is always a pleasant 
surprise to find such pure and delicate beauty amid the usual 
coarse vegetation of its environment. 



120 




MARSH FELWORT 
121 



LESSER PASTURE SAGE BRUSH; WORMWOOD 

SAGE 

Artemisia frigida Willd. 
THISTLE FAMILY' 

In Western Canada grow many species of Artemisia, kuo\ 
variously as wormwoods, sage brushes, or mugworts. Most 
them are dry ground plants, a few are found in moist valleys, 
and one at least (A . biennis) has become in many places a common 
and unsightly weed. Certain kinds, especially the European 
wormwood (^4. Absinthium) grown in many gardens and escaped 
from them to the roadside, are so widely used as domestic medicine 
that "wormwood tea is an odorous memory with every persoi 
who was reared in the country."* 

Those species of Artemisia commonly called sage brushes 
are characteristic of arid regions, where over large tracts they 
sometimes constitute almost the entire vegetation. We have all 
heard of, even if we have not seen, the sage brush desert whose 
gray monotony impresses travellers as they cross the continent 
by southern railway lines. Such universal grayness of tone is 
due to the fact that stems, leaves, and flower-heads of these plants 
are all densely coated with white hair or wool. The protection 
thus afforded is two-fold: first, transpiration is greatly diminished; 
and, second, the chlorophyll the green coloring matter of plants 
in the tissue beneath the hairs is shaded as by an awning from 
the destructive action of too intense sunshine. 

The Lesser Pasture Sage Brush pictured on the opposite page 
is one of the smaller of these desert sages. It has, however, a 
range extending far beyond the desert, being found northward as 
far as Hudson's Bay and Alaska. Over much of this great 
expanse it occurs sparingly in small colonies on particularly dry 
banks or hillsides, but in the arid part of the Canadian plains it 
sometimes covers the ground over considerable areas. 

Considered, not as a hundred or a thousand acre carpet, 
but individually in detail, it is a pretty plant with soft masses of 
finely-cut, silvery foliage above which in late Summer rise silvery 
plumes eight to twenty inches high. Along the slender branches 
of these stems are strung round and nodding flower-heads, pearly 
gray on the outside, but soon opening to emit the tiny yellow 
florets. 



'Liberty Hyde Bailey. 



122 



LESSER PASTURE SAGE BRUSH; WORMWOOD SAGE 
123 



WHITE PRAIRIE ASTER 

Aster com mutatis T. and G. 

THISTI.E FAMILY 

In the floral pageantry of early summer the Asters take no 
part, but from midsummer onward they demand increasing 
notice until in the climax of splendor with which the season 
closes they occupy the premier place. Other handsome flowers 
in great number and variety join in the display, but many of 
them furnish only here and there outstanding points of color, 
valuable additions to the general effect, but still merely inci- 
dental. Not so the Asters ! Vast plains, unending miles of road- 
way, and innumerable swamps, thickets, and forest glades are 
beautified by their mj-riad blossoms. 

Asters respond kindly to human care, and in England these 
Michaelmas daisies, as they are called, are highly esteemed and 
generally cultivated. In Canada little attention of this kind 
has yet been paid to them. But, although neglected by human 
gardeners, Nature here uses them lavishly, and many a lonely 
settler's simple home is transformed and glorified by the blue 
and white of asters and the yellow of goldenrods. 

This White Prairie Aster is common in dry and sandy soil 
from Manitoba to British Columbia. Its stem, somewhat 
branched, grows one or two feet high, its leaves are small and 
narrow, both stem and leaves are hairy, but one notices little 
such details, as attention is centred upon the splendid panicle 
of white flowers, a particularly fine specimen of which is shown 
on the opposite page. 

A closely allied species, the White Wreath Aster (A. wiilti- 
florus) with smaller flower-heads and a more branched stem, 
grows in similar soil over an even wider territory. 

The Smooth-leaved Aster (A. laevis) with rather compact 
panicles of sky-blue flowers is one of the most abundant and 
elegant forms in open woods, on the edge of thickets, ami along 
fence rows. 

In swamps we frequently find a stout, rough-hairy, purple- 
stemmed Aster (A. puniceus) bearing aloft above the tallest 
sedges a great pyramid of large lilac-blue flowers. 

Scattered along hilly roads and on openly wooded hillsides is 
the Showy Western Aster '(A. conspicuus) whose broad leaves 
and flat-topped clusters of large violet or pink-purple flowers 
quite justify its name. 

Many other kinds merit mention. The ambitious young 
student may find some difficulty in the exact determination 
of species, but both he and the amateur lover of flowers will 
find interest and pleasure in their great variety and beauty. 

124 




WHITE PRAIRIE ASTER 
125 



DRUMMOND'S DRYAS FRUITING ON A 
GRAVEL-BAR 

Dryas Drummondii Richards 
ROSE FAMILY 

Having now considered many flowers, it seems fitting that, 
before bringing this series to a close, we should glance at a few 
of the seeds, or fruits as a botanist calls them, the production 
of which is the object of all blossoms. 

Our photograph of Drummond's Dryas, fruiting on a gravel- 
bar of a great northern river, was chosen because it illustrates 
so well the frequent beauty of this final stage in plant growth, 
and also the lavish manner in which seeds are usually produced. 

This plant forms dense mats of foliage above which in early 
Summer rise small, short-stemmed flowers. The petals wither, 
and the numerous styles afterwards elongate into twisted awns, 
fringed throughout their length with fine hairs. While still 
immature these styles are tightly twisted together, but when 
ripe they fluff out into a downy ball two inches or more in diameter. 
The seed-stems lengthen to eight or ten inches, thus raising the 
seed-heads well above the leaves. 

As to the beauty of such a Dryas bed there can be no question. 
The soft, feathery expanse of plumose seeds gleaming in the 
sunshine quite surpasses in attractiveness the same bed when 
dotted with small yellow flowers. And since this one colony shows 
thousands of seed-heads, and each head has about one hundred 
and fifty seeds, some idea of the great quantity of seed produced 
is readily formed. 

But, when the individual plant has ripened a good crop of seed, 
the achievement will be of little benefit to the race unless the seeds 
reach a place where they can grow successfully. If they fall 
directly to the ground, then, in the case of all perennials, the parent 
itself becomes the chief danger to its offspring. Plants, therefore, 
have developed many devices to scatter their seeds abroad. 

As is fitting, these Dryas seeds, born beside the water, are good 
swimmers. They are also able to fly, although not with the 
buoyancy of thistle-down. Using both modes of travel, they 
quickly reach and triumphantly occupy the gravel-bars on 
thousands of miles of northern waterways. 



126 







DRUMMOND'S DRYAS FRUITING ON A GRAVEL-BAR 
127 



A GROUP OF AIRSHIP SEEDS 

Ready to start on the great adventure 

Of the many methods of seed dispersion that of using the 
wind as carrier is one of the most common and most effective. 

In the picture opposite we have an interesting group of such 
airship seeds. The centre is occupied by a spike of the great 
willow-herb, or fireweed, whose forty long pods conta'ned about 
twelve thousand seeds On a dry day it is a pretty sight to see 
these pods splitting open, their four slender divisions cui 
quickly but gently outward into the form of a cross, and the 
imprisoned down instantly fluffing out as if delighted to find 
freedom. The seeds lose no time in starting on their momentous 
journey, but eagerly commit themselves to the first passing breeze. 
The launching of these tiny, crowded airships is in open situations 
usually attended by few mishaps, and away they sail, each freighted 
with a potential fireweed that may by and by bloom in splendor 
on some distant clearing. These seeds are extremely light and 
buoyant. Twelve hundred of them weigh less than one grain, 
and in a still room, experiment showed that on the average the 
seeds took forty seconds to fall eight feet. The slightest upward 
breath of air sent them soaring, and in the open there is no doubt 
that they rise to great heights and travel long distances. 

On the left of our picture are opened milkweed pods. Each 
held about fifty large, brown seeds. These pods split open along 
one side only, and at first no silk is seen, for the flat seeds overlap 
one another like the scales of a spruce cone, but as drying pro- 
gresses the elasticity of the compressed hairs pushes up and out 
seed after seed to be whirled away by the wind. The weight of 
each is more than one hundred times that of a fireweed seed, yet 
the sustaining power of its large and beautiful parachute is such 
that it has one-fifth the buoyancy of the lighter seed. 

To the right are five disintegrating cylinders of the long- 
fruited anemone. While still intact, all the seeds about two 
hundred and forty to each are on the outside, arranged in well- 
ordered spirals with the wool tightly packed within. When the 
expansive pressure of this drying wool finally bursts the neat 
cylinder, the crinkly wool separates into little tufts with a seed 



128 




A GROUP OF AIRSHIP Si -\ \^ 
129 



in the centre of each. These weigh fifteen times as much as, 
and have one-eighth the bouyancy of the fireweed seeds. 

In the lower right hand corner are two heads of Troximon, 
an artistic ally of the dandelion. At the bottom are three globes 
of the dandelion itself, and above them the half-dozen small 
heads are those of the golden aster. These three plants belong 
to the Thistle family and serve to illustrate the fruiting method 
of many of their kindred. As the dandelion, especially, is so well- 
known it is unnecessary to describe this method in detail. Every 
child has played with dandelion " clocks" and watched the seeds 
sail away before his vigorous puffs. The dandelion seeds are 
quite light about four hundred of them weigh one grain 
and yet in a quiet room their buoyancy is only about one-tenth 
that of the fireweed seeds. 

This comparison suggests that other factors play a part in 
the successful spread of a species. From a close, hard fight the 
fireweed flies far away to seek easier conditions elsewhere, but the 
dandelion stays and fights it out, successfully competing with 
even blue-grass sod, and dodging serious lawn-mower injury by 
spreading its leaves flat and bearing its flowers on very short 
stems. Then, just when the seeds are ripe,, the stems shoot up 
and lift the seed-heads well above the grass. The dandelion 
seed may not travel so far as that of the fireweed, but it will 
germinate and thrive where the latter would perish. 

Here we must leave this interesting subject. The reader, 
however, may by observation and simple experiment easily 
continue its investigation. 



130 



INDEX 



Agastache Foeniculum 

Airship Seeds 

Allium cernuum. 

Anemone, Long-fruited 

Apocynum androsaemifolium 

Aquilegia flavescens 



106 
128 

88 
128 
104 

50 



Aralia nudicaulis 14 

Arctic Raspberry 26 

Arrow-head, Broad-leaved 118 

Artemisia frigida 122 

Asclepias ovalifolia 92, 128 

Aster commutatis 124 

" Golden 130 

" Showy Western 124 

" Smooth-leaved 124 

" White Prairie 124 

" White Wreath 124 

Astragalus hypoglottis 20 

Baked-apple Berry 24 

Beard-tongue, Blue 34 

Bedstraw, Northern 52 

" Sweet-scented 52 

Bergamot 96 

Blazing Star 110 

Bluebells 42 

Bunchberry 48 

Butterfly Weed 72 

Butterwort 26 

Button Snakeroot 110 

Calla palustris 28 

Camas, Death 90 

" White 90 

Caslilleja miniata 112 

Cinquefoil, Tall White 66 

Cloud-berry 24 

Columbine, Small-flowered 50 

M Wild 50 

Yellow 50 

Convolvulus scpiuin 108 

Coral-root 58 

Cornus canadensis . . 48 



Page 

Cow Parsnip : . . . ... 68 

Cowslip, American 18 

" Virginian 42 

Cranberry 26 

Crane's-bill ; 64 

Cypripedium parviflorum 44 

Dandelion 130 

Disporum trachycarpum 12 

Dodecatheon pauciflorum 18 

Dogbane, Spreading 104 

Dogwood, Flowering 48 

Dryas Drummondii 126 

Dwarf Cornel 48 

Epilobium angustifolium 100, 128 

Erigeron glabellus 94 

Fairy Bells ... 12 

Felwort, Marsh 120 

Fern, Oak 58 

" Ostrich 98 

Ferny Dell, A 98 

Fire-weed 100 

Fleabane Daisy, Philadelphia 94 

Rough 94 

Flower-bordered Road, A 78 

Fly-trap 104 

Forest Invading a Peat Bog . . 22 

Gaillardia aristata 82 

Galium boreale 52 

Gaura coccinea 72 

Geranium incisum 64 

Purple 64 

" Richardson's 64 

" Spotted 64 

Giant Hyssop 106 

Golden Pea 10 

Grass of Parnassus 102 

Great-flowered Gaillardia 82 

Hedge Bindweed ... 106 



131 



INDEX 



Page 

Hedge Nettle 80 

Hedysarum boreale 76 

Mackenzie 76,114 

Helianthus giganteus 116 

Heracleum lanatum . . 68 



Page 

Primula farinosa 36 

Pyrola asarifolia 60 

Ragwort, Marsh 38, 40 

Round-leaved Orchis 32 

Rubus arcticus . . 26 



Indian Paint Brush. . 112 Rubus Chamaemorus 



24 



Labrador Tea 26 

Lady's Slipper, Yellow 44 

Liatris scariosa 110 

Lilium montanum 56 

Lily, Red or Wood 56 

Linnaea borealis 46 

Loco-weed 86 

Lungwort, Tall 42 

Lygodesmia juncea 70 

Meadow Rue, Tall 84 

Mertensia paniculata 42 

" virginica 42 

Milk Vetch, Purple 20 

Milkweed, Oval-leaved 92, 128 

Monarda mollis 96 

Moneses uniflora 62 

Morning Glory 108 

Northern Hedysarum 76 

Orchis rotundifolia 32 

Oxytrope, Showy 86 

Oxytropis Lamberti 86 

Painted Cup 112 

Pamassia palustris 102 

Pentstemon procerus 34 

Petalostemon purpureus 74 

Pitcher-plant 26 

Pleurogyne fonlana 120 

Polentilla anserina 30 

" arguta 66 

Polygala Senega 54 

Prairie Bean 10 

Prairie Clover, Purple 74 

Prairie Pink 70 

Primrose, Bird's-eye 36 



Brush, Lesser Pasture 122 

Sarsaparilla, Wild 14 

Sagittaria latifolia 118 

Scarlet Gaura 72 

Seneca Snakeroot 54 

Senecio palustris 38 

Shooting Star 18, 36 

Silver-feather 30 

Silver-weed 30 

Single Beauty 62 

Skeleton Weed 70 

Solomon's Seal 26 

Stachys palustris 80 

Sundew 26 

Sunflower, Giant 116 



Thalictrum purpurascens .... 

Thermopsis rhombifolia 

Troximon 

Twin-flower . . 



Viola nephrophylla 

Violet, Early Purple 

Water Arum 

Water-Crowfoot 

Western River Scene, A. . 
Western Woodland, In a . 



84 

10 

130 

46 

16 

id 

28 

78 

114 

58 



WildCalla 

Wild Onion, Nodding 88 

Willow-herb, Great 100. PJs 

Wintergf een, One-flowered 62 

Wintergreen, Pink 60 

Wormwood Sage 1 -'- 



Zones of Vegetation 

Zygadenus elegans 



40 
90 



132 



1C C. LIMITED. TORONTO 



UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 
LIBRARY